Treatment for Achilles Tendon Rupture


The Achilles tendon is a thick band of tough sinew that connects to the heel and runs up along the back of the lower leg. An Achilles tendon rupture occurs when the tendon is hyperextended or stretched too far, causing it to tear partially or completely. Achilles tendon ruptures often require surgical treatment.


  1. Surgical Treatment

  2. If the Achilles tendon is torn completely, surgical treatment is the most common way to fix the problem. Without the Achilles tendon attached to the heel, the ability to walk and support weight on the injured leg will be severely impaired. Surgical treatment of the Achilles tendon typically involves making a cut along the back of the lower leg parallel to the tendon, stitching the tendon back together, and then closing the incision. According to the Mayo Clinic, the tendon may be reinforced with other tendons in some instances.

    After surgery the ankle joint and tendon should be immobilized using a cast, brace or splint until the tendon has time to recover, which can take about two months. Surgical treatment is a good idea if you plan on resuming a high level of physical activity in the future.

    Non-Surgical Treatment

  3. Non surgical treatment of an Achilles rupture typically involves immobilizing the ankle and tendon using a cast, brace or similar device in the hopes the tendon will naturally mend itself over time. While this method can be effective, it is best used when the tendon is only partially torn, and can lead to an increased likelihood of future tendon ruptures.

    The total recovery time of non-surgical treatment may end up being longer than that involved with surgery. The main advantages of non-surgical treatment are avoiding possible drawbacks of surgery such as infections, reactions to anesthesia and cost.

    Achilles Rehabilitation

  4. Regardless of the initial treatment method pursued for a tendon rupture, physical therapy can aid rehabilitation and help prevent future injury after the tendon has had sufficient time to heal. Typical physical therapy exercises for the Achilles include stretching by decreasing the ankle between the sole of the foot and the shin, balancing on one foot, and doing calf raises to increase strength.

    Rehabilitation exercises and any other physical activity should be commenced gradually and cautiously; any activity that causes pain should be stopped immediately as it may lead to damage that will slow recovery time. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people are able to return to their former activity level after six months of recovery and rehab. It is also a good idea to wear supportive shoes and stay at a healthy weight to reduce strain on the tendon.


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