Achilles tendon ruptures generally occur while performing activities that require sudden changes in direction or jumping and landing.
Patients usually describe a sharp pain in the back of their leg as if they were “kicked or hit in the back of the leg with a tennis serve.” Patients will have some swelling in the heel region and if they can walk, it is usually quite painful.
Acute Achilles tendon rupture is made through clinical examination after x-ray rules out fracture. A qualified orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon will also perform in office tests to diagnosis acute Achilles tendon rupture.
Achilles tendon ruptures can be treated non-operatively or operatively. Non-operative treatment often consists of immobilization, initially in a cast with the foot pointed. The cast is changed periodically and the foot slow dorsiflexed a bit more as each cast is applied. Through most of this process usually taking up to 3 months the patient is non-weight bearing. Operative treatment involves making an incision and suturing together the torn tendon a long with doing a tendon transfer. This enables the patient to weight bear two weeks after surgery and minimizes the potential for future rupture.