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Did I Tear My Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscle and foot. Everyday activities, the demand of velocity sports, and its limited blood supply make this tendon subject to Achilles tendon pain and, in severe cases, an Achilles tendon rupture. 80% of Achilles tendon tears are sports-related. Patients are concerned, “Did I tear my Achilles tendon?” Know the symptoms and seek medical attention for Achilles tendon pain and Achilles tendon rupture.

Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurology provides world-class foot and ankle care. Our doctors will examine, diagnose and treat Achilles tendon pain and Achilles tendon tears. The VSON Foot and Ankle specialist team is led by Dr. John Paul Elton, a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon and Fellowship trained ankle specialist. Dr. Elton understands patient concerns around Achilles tendon pain and symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture. Learn more about Team Elton here.

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Tear

What is the difference between Achilles tendon pain from tendonitis and Achilles tendon tear?

Achilles Tendon Pain / Tendinitis

Frequent seen among runners, tendinitis often begins with achiness at the Achilles. Pain intensifies with increased activity and demand. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are common. When symptoms persist, seek medical care. An ankle and foot specialist will provide a physical exam, evaluating the tendon condition, flexibility, range of motion, alignment, and reflexes. Imaging may be required.

Achilles Tendon Tear and Achilles Tendon Rupture

An Achilles tendon tear or rupture is often a sudden acute injury. Achilles tendon tear and Achilles tendon rupture are the same injury, distinct by the degree of damage – partial tear to complete rupture, respectively. A loud snap and pain in the calf muscle are immediate. Additional indicators include swelling, inability to rise on the toes, loss of the push-off foot motion, and limitation to normal gait. Risk factors reported by Achilles tendon tear patients include:

  • Neglecting stretch routine

  • Uneven surfaces

  • Increased intensity

  • Improper footwear

  • New sport or activity

  • Bone spur at heel

Patients should seek immediate medical care to avoid complications. Diagnosis involves a physical exam, identifying the gap at the ankle – if any – that can indicate a complete rupture. A series of patient movements are conducted to evaluate the calf muscle to confirm the degree of the tear. MRI diagnostics may be required. Non-surgical treatments are available, recover slower and increase the possibility of another Achilles tendon tear. Minimally invasive surgical techniques make the surgical option a good choice for many patients.

Achilles Tendon Pain? Contact VSON Today!

Dr. Elton has the expertise and experience to treat your ankle injury and return you to your active life safely and soon. Contact our foot and ankle specialist today. In Breckenridge at: 970-453-4364, Frisco at: 970-668-0888, and Silverthorne at: 970-262-6106


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