Torn Achilles Tendon

If you have any pain or discomfort in the back of your ankle, it is possible that you have a torn Achilles tendon or Achilles tendonitis.

The team of sports medicine experts and leading orthopaedic surgeons at Capital Orthopaedics have decades of experience in treating Achilles tendon tears and all other conditions of the ankle.

For a fast, efficient consultation and diagnosis at one of our state of the art London clinics, contact Capital Orthopaedics here.

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What is a Torn Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is the thickest, strongest tendon in your body, and it connects your calf muscle to the back of your ankle at the heel bone (calcaneus). It powers and stabilises your lower leg.

It can be partially or completely torn – usually at the attachment point on the bone (Achilles tendon rupture). Tiny tears, or micro-tears, can form along the tendon – resulting in inflammation and muscle weakness.

An Achilles tendon tear or Achilles tendonitis can be extremely painful and debilitating.

What Causes a Torn Achilles Tendon?

An Achilles tendon rupture is usually the result of an explosive movement from standing to running or jumping. It is common in sprinters or basketball players but can affect anyone who hasn’t warmed up their calf muscles properly before impact exercises.

The micro-tears leading to Achilles tendonitis are the result of overuse. Repetitive actions that put stress on the tendon, such as walking, running, jumping or going on tiptoe, can lead to this inflammatory condition.

What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Achilles Tendon?

  • The feeling of having been kicked in the calf
  • Sharp pain and swelling near your heel
  • Unable to point your toe
  • Unable to ‘push off’ the injured leg when walking
  • Unable to go up on tiptoe
  • A popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs

How is A Torn Achilles Tendon Diagnosed?

Diagnosis will start with patient history and a physical examination, followed by scans including MRI or ultrasound, and sometimes an x-ray or CT scan to assess bone damage.

How Can A Torn Achilles Tendon Be Treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the Achilles tendon tear.

Non-surgical treatment

Minor tears and Achilles tendonitis may be treated with rest and a splint or walking boot while the tendon heals.

You may be offered injection therapy to stimulate your body’s healing process and reduce pain and inflammation.

Physiotherapy will start gently, working at building up calf strength and flexibility.

Surgery

If you have suffered a complete rupture of your Achilles tendon, you will usually require surgery. This involves re-attaching the tendon into the bone and may involve using graft tissue to replace the badly damaged tendon.

It is carried out by our expert consultant orthopaedic surgeons using arthroscopic (keyhole) or minimally invasive techniques.

Full recovery from Achilles tendon rupture usually takes 4-6 months.

If you have any symptoms of an Achilles tendon tear or Achilles tendonitis, contact the sports medicine team at Capital Orthopaedics here to book an appointment, or to discuss your ankle pain.

Other Ankle Conditions We Treat:

Footballer’s Ankle

Anterior ankle impingement causes pain in the front of your ankle. Soft tissues can get pinched between the bones as you flex your foot upwards as a result of repetitive kicking or flexing actions. Pinching occurs as a result of scarring or inflammation, or a bone spur forming as a result of repeated jarring.

Ankle Osteoarthritis

Repetitive impact, injury or ageing can lead to damage to the surfaces of your bones. The slick cartilage coating can wear away or get torn – and the exposed bones begin to degenerate. As your bones try to heal, they can also form lumps called bone spurs. Osteoarthritis in your ankle leads to soft tissue damage, pain, swelling and instability as the muscles around it weaken.

Posterior Impingement

Pain in the back of your ankle may be caused by soft tissue getting pinched between the bones as you point your toes. It’s common in ballet dancers, footballers, gymnasts and fast bowlers, but can also be the result of a sprain or chronic ankle instability. In some cases, it can be treated conservatively; bone spurs and thickened tissues may require surgery.

Peroneal Subluxation

The tendon that runs under the bony lump on the outside of your ankle can get displaced – particularly after a sprain. This can lead to pain and swelling, along with instability. Physiotherapy to build up the muscles and improve stability can solve the problem. Arthroscopic surgery is often needed to fix the tendon back in place.

Torn Ankle Ligament Injury

A sprained ankle can usually be treated with physiotherapy to build up strength while the torn ligament heals. Serious tears, chronic ankle instability, or those associated with other conditions may need surgery to repair ligaments, the smooth damaged bone and stabilise your ankle.

Frequently Asked Questions

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The Capital Orthopaedics team is made up of highly experienced medical professionals – from Mr Simon Moyes, the renowned orthopaedic consultant surgeon, to physicians, nurses, anaesthetists and physiotherapists.
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