Surgical Repair of Achilles Tendon Ruptures in Boise
What is an Achilles Tendon Rupture?
The Achilles tendon plays an important role in proper movement of the foot. It is a fibrous cord that attaches the muscles in the back of your calf, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, to your heel. It allows you to effectively point your toe or push off the ball of your foot when running, or jumping. The calf muscles and Achilles are most responsible for slowing the dorsiflexion movement, or toes toward your nose motion at the ankle when walking. The Achilles and respective calf muscles keep you from falling forward especially with walking down an incline or stairs. Generally, the Achilles tendon is ruptured because of a sports related injury. However, many people have also torn their Achilles tendon after sustaining a fall or stepping awkwardly into a hole or even off a curb! Any forced dorsiflexion of the ankle against a contracted calf muscle can put a significant load on the Achilles and cause it to fail.
What are the Most Common Symptoms?
Patients have stated that they felt as if they had been kicked or shot in the calf from behind. A tear can also be accompanied by pain at the site of the tear and swelling near the heel. Others have said they heard a distinct “popping” sound when the tendon ruptured. Patients with a complete tear feel like they fall forward when they are trying to walk after the injury. Achilles injuries are commonly missed. People with a complete Achilles rupture can still push their foot downward or plantarflex the ankle as the muscles that plantarflex the toes cross the ankle and compensate for the loss of the gastrocnemius/soleus muscle pull on the Achilles tendon.
How is it Diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical exam including a range of motion tests to see how the ankle is performing. They will also look for inflammation at or around the area of the suspected tear. Early after the injury a gap can be felt at the tendon, however within a short period of time this fills in.
Your doctor may use the Thompson Test to diagnose a tear. It is a simple test that involves squeezing the calf muscle above the tear to look for movement in the foot. This is compared to the uninjured side.
Diagnostic imaging like X-Rays and MRIs may also be used to determine the nature of the injury.
What is the Treatment for an Achilles Tendon Rupture?
There are surgical and nonsurgical options available for treating Achilles tendon ruptures. Your doctor will work with you to help determine the best option for you.
Nonsurgical options include the RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), immobilization, pain medication, and a referral for physical and/or occupational therapy. Your doctor will advise the best course of nonsurgical treatment options.
Surgical repair of torn Achilles tendons includes Percutaneous repair and Open repair. Both involve incisions and traditional surgical methods. Percutaneous methods involve several smaller incisions while open repair requires one larger incision.
Make an Appointment with an Achilles Tendon Surgeon in Boise today
The most important part of treating your ruptured Achilles tendon is making that first consultation appointment as early as possible after the injury. If you believe you have torn your Achilles, contact the Flint Foot and Ankle Institute in Boise today. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon will walk you through the best course of treatment for your injury, whether that means a surgical or nonsurgical course of treatment.