Achilles tendon ruptures are often caused by a severe and sudden increase of stress on your Achilles tendon, this can include increasing the intensity of participation in sports, especially those that involve jumping. Ruptures can also be caused by falling from a height or stepping into a hole.
Treating a ruptured Achilles tendon largely varies on the details of the person injured. Age, activity level, and severity of the injury are all factors that are looked at when determining what treatment should be used. Generally, younger patients who are active usually choose surgery to completely repair the tendon. On the other hand, older people usually choose non-surgical treatment. Studies show that both are fairly equal in their effectiveness of improving the injured tendon.
Nonsurgical treatment generally involves wearing a cast with wedges that will aid in elevating your heel, taking the pressure off the torn tendon in order to let it heal. This avoids any risks associated with surgery, like the possibility of infections. The downside is that the likelihood of a re-rupture is significantly higher with the nonsurgical approach, and recovery time is much longer. Should a re-rupture happen, doing a surgical repair is much more difficult.
The surgery approach involves an incision on the back of the lower leg to stitch the torn tendon together. Other tendons may be used to reinforce and support the affected tendon.
After either non-surgical or surgical treatment, a rehabilitation program is the next step. This involves physical therapy exercises that help in strengthening your Achilles tendon and supporting leg muscles. Time of recovery until you are able to return to your former level of activity is generally four to six months.
You can participate in your prevention of suffering from a torn Achilles tendon by making sure to stretch and strengthen your calf muscles; varying your exercises from high impact sports to low impact sports; choosing running surfaces carefully; and increasing the intensity of your training slowly, no more than 10% each week. By following these tips you’ll be sure to avoid a painful Achilles tendon rupture.