The Achilles Tendon, sometimes called the “heel cord,” is the band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. If you’ve ruptured it, most likely you’d know it. When the tendon is stretched beyond its capacity due to forceful jumping or pivoting or sudden acceleration when you’re running, it can tear. At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic, we often see this injury in “weekend warriors,” those less-fit adults who decide to go full force running, exercising, or participating in a sport. The tendon can also rupture as the result of tripping or a fall. If you’ve ruptured your Achilles Tendon you will probably experience one or more of the following:
- Sudden stabbing pain in the back of the ankle or calf that may subside to a dull ache
- A popping or snapping sensation
- Swelling between the heel and the calf
- Difficulty walking (especially upstairs or uphill) and an inability to rise up on your toes
If you believe you have ruptured your Achilles Tendon, call our Fishersville office at 540-949-5150 or our Charlottesville office at 434-979-8116 immediately. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent further damage. Until you are able to see the doctor, follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) regimen.
Our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Stewart M. Chang and Dr. Kevin P. Murray will conduct a thorough examination of the foot and ankle, which will involve checking for range of motion and comparing the injured foot to the uninjured one. Our podiatrists will also want to know how the injury occurred and, in some cases, may order an MRI or other advanced imaging tests.
There are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options for a ruptured Achilles Tendon. Your podiatrist will determine the best treatment plan for you, based on the severity of the injury and your level of activity.
ACHILLES TENDINITIS is, as implied, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This tendon is the largest and strongest tendon within the body and it is an extension of the gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris muscle (calf muscles) with insertion into the calcaneus (heel bone). Its location gives us the ability to rise on our toes therefore aiding in walking, running and jumping. Without the Achilles tendon, we won’t be able to generate propulsive power while walking or running. There are times when this tendon may undergo infection or trauma and result in inflammation but typically, inflammation problems associated with the Achilles are due to chronic overuse, athletic training error or arthritis.