Achilles tendon rupture refers to the complete tearing of the Achilles tendon. It is among the most severe muscular conditions of the lower leg and is extremely painful. Usually, the rupture occurs as one pushes off the front of the foot, as in any propulsive activities, such as running and jumping.
This injury is most prevalent in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years. The rupture most commonly occurs between 2.5 and 5 centimetres above the heel bone, anatomically known as the calcaneus.
Signs and Symptoms
One can feel and hear a “pop” in the back of the ankle and there is extreme pain, often described as being shot or kicked in the heel. The following will also be present:
· Visible defect in the tendon itself
· The inability to stand on tiptoes or balance on the affected leg
· Swelling and bruising around the ankle
· Excessive range of motion when pulling the forefoot upwards
In a complete Achilles tendon rupture, surgery is required to reattach the tendon to the calcaneus, especially in younger, more active individuals. A cast is required to ensure the foot remains immobilized while the tendon heals. Physiotherapy is then required to regain range of motion in the ankle joint. Finally, biokinetic therapy is essential to provide stretching and strengthening exercises in order to regain full function. This process usually takes at least 6 months.
Foundations of Athletic Training: Prevention, Assessment and Management