WHAT IS IT? ACHILLES PARTIAL TEAR

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. It stretches from the bones of your heel to your calf muscles. You can feel it -- a springy band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel. It lets you point your toes toward the floor and raise up on your tiptoes.


Signs & Symptoms

It’s common for this tendon to get injured. It can be mild or moderate and feel like a burning pain or stiffness in that part of your leg. If the pain is severe, your Achilles tendon may be partly torn or completely ruptured.

The most obvious sign is pain above your heel, especially when you stretch your ankle or stand on your toes. It may be mild and get better or worse over time. If the tendon ruptures, the pain is instant and severe. The area may also feel tender, swollen, and stiff.

If your Achilles tendon tears, you may hear a snapping or popping noise when it happens. You could have bruising and swelling, too. You also may have trouble pointing your toes and pushing off your toes when you take a step.

What Causes It?

Achilles tendon injuries are common in people who do things where they quickly speed up, slow down, or pivot, such as:

  • Running

  • Gymnastics

  • Dance

  • Football

These injuries tend to happen when you start moving suddenly as you push off and lift your foot rather than when you land. For instance, a sprinter might get one at the start of a race as he surges off the starting block. The abrupt action can be too much for the tendon to handle. Men over 30 are particularly prone to Achilles tendon injuries.

How to Self Manage

Partial tears are deemed unresponsive to eccentric Achilles strengthening exercises.

The current best management is to rest from aggravating activities, and wear a heel raise of 1cm.

Prognosis

With the above mentioned treatment, a partial tear should resolve.  If conservative management is not successful further investigation via ultrasound may be warranted.

How Physio Helps

  • Your physiotherapist will be able to take a thorough subjective history and determine whether your injury is a partial tear, tendinitis or tendinopathy

  • Assess your biomechanics

  • Review possible training factors which led to your injury

  • Provide you with the appropriate heel raise

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