The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the ankle and attaches the calf muscles to the heel of the foot. It has two main functions to absorb shock and use that energy to propel the body forward or upward like a spring. Injury to the Achilles tendon can vary widely from complete rupture to overuse tendonitis, information provided here will be regarding the acute injuries of strain/tear of the tendon.
Most commonly Achilles strain or tears occur in sports with sprinting, jumping, pivoting. Often an audible “pop” or “snap” is heard when large tear or rupture of the tendon occurs. Loss of function in ankle, inability to weight bear could also suggest severe injury. More commonly sharp pain or “catch” is felt the Achilles on exertion that leads to pain with walking, difficulty running, weakness and pain to jump. Swelling, pain and potentially bruising may occur following.
Severe Achilles tear and rupture are reviewed by surgeon and managed surgically or in a camboot with heel lifts to allow tendon ends to reattach and gradually heal, Physiotherapists and Podiatrists are highly involved in this management to prevent stiffening of ankle joint and loss of muscle length. Later stage severe injury is treated similarly to mild and moderate injury. This management consists of use of heel lifts, soft tissue release, mobility and activation exercises followed by a gradual strength and power based rehabilitation.
Immediately following injury to the Achilles Tendon it is appropriate to initiate RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) until thorough assessment can be completed by Podiatrist or Physiotherapist.
If you would like to learn more about our services, or have some questions regarding our treatment options in our Mount Lawley clinic, feel free to give us a call.
You can reach us at (08) 9271 8805 and one of our friendly team members will be happy to answer your questions.