The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run and jump. Although it can withstand great stresses from powerful movements, it is still vulnerable to injury. When the tendon ruptures, it tears and separates the tendon fibers, preventing the tendon from performing its normal function.
Forceful jumping or pivoting, or sudden accelerations of running can overstretch the tendon and cause a tear. An injury to the tendon can also result from falling or tripping. They are most often seen in athletes and physically active adults. Less commonly, illness or medications, such as steroids or certain antibiotics, may weaken the tendon and contribute to tears.
When the Achilles tendon is torn, the symptoms are immediate. They include:
- Sudden pain in the back of the ankle or calf, often subsiding into a dull ache
- A popping or snapping sensation
- Swelling on the back of the leg between the heel and the calf
- Difficulty walking at an incline and rising up on the toes
OKC Orthopedics Sports Medicine is committed to helping patients with an achilles tear return to the highest level of activity possible. Our team of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and athletic trainers work together to tailor a treatment plan to each patient’s needs and goals.
Treatment options for an Achilles tendon tear include surgical and non-surgical options, and are based on the severity of the tear and the patient’s health status and activity level. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in foot and ankle arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which small instruments and a thin, flexible medical device with a camera pass through an incision the size of a small Band-Aid. After surgery, our physical therapists guide each patient through a personalized rehabilitation program to restore strength and mobility.