Tendon Rupture Treatment Questions and Answers
Tiny tears in the tissue around the tendon occur with overuse. The weakened, degenerative tendon sets the stage for the possibility of a tendon rupture. If you have experienced a tendon rupture, call Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists in Elgin, IL, so we can help you feel better. We are conveniently located at 1750 N Randall Rd #160 Elgin, IL 60123. We serve patients from Elgin IL, Streamwood IL, Campton Hills IL, Hoffman Estates IL, and Gilberts IL.
Achilles tendon ruptures can be caused by overuse, intense sports participation, falling from a height, or when accidentally stepping into a hole. Whatever the cause, it is essential to seek proper medical care. Our board-certified podiatrists at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists would be happy to provide you with high-quality treatment to help your tendon heal and regain strength so that it can function at your usual level again.
Can a ruptured tendon heal without surgery?
While surgery is often required to repair a ruptured tendon, there is still a significant number of ruptured tendon cases that heal without surgery. With that being said, those with a ruptured Achilles tendon who choose to go without surgery are at higher risk of re-rupturing their tendon. Consequently, surgical repair is often recommended for healthy and active individuals who rupture their Achilles tendon. At the same time, whether or not a foot and ankle specialist will recommend surgery to a patient who ruptures their Achilles tendon will ultimately depend on the patient’s age, overall medical condition, and their level of exercise and activity. As such, for patients with conditions like diabetes or neuropathy in their legs, surgery is typically not advised.
What is the treatment for a ruptured tendon?
For most active adults, surgical repair is the standard treatment for a ruptured tendon. However, for those who do not wish to undergo surgery or for whom it is not recommended, treatment will likely consist of immobilizing the foot in a flexed-down position for one to two months.
During Achilles tendon repair surgery, the surgeon will make an incision in the back of the calf in order to stitch the tendon back together. You will be under general or local anesthesia during this time so that you will not feel anything. The procedure can either be performed laparoscopically (guided by a tiny camera placed inside the incision for minimally invasive purposes) or via open surgery. If severe enough damage has occurred to the Achilles tendon, the surgeon may partially or completely replace the Achilles tendon with portions of tendon taken from another part of the foot.
Recovery from Achilles tendon surgery will likely involve wearing a cast or walking boot for six to 12 weeks after surgery, followed by physical therapy until adequate strength, flexibility, and range of motion has returned to the foot and ankle.
In addition to immobilization, alternative therapies for a ruptured Achilles tendon include over-the-counter (OTC) pain killers, the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), and physical therapy once the tendon has healed sufficiently.
Can you walk with a ruptured tendon?
If your Achilles tendon rupture is mild to moderate in severity, you may still be able to walk. For more severe as well as many moderate ruptures, walking will likely be extremely difficult. Whether you are able to walk or not after rupturing your Achilles tendon, it is essential to get as much rest as you can to let the tendon heal properly and completely.
Is a ruptured tendon an emergency?
While a ruptured Achilles tendon is not a life-threatening medical emergency, it does require urgent medical attention to prevent long-term damage to the foot and ankle. As such, if you suspect that you have ruptured your Achilles tendon, you should go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room to immobilize the injured area. We recommend that you make a follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor or a podiatric doctor for further treatment. Our podiatric doctors at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists would be happy to provide you with specialized treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon.