An Achilles tear – also known as an Achilles tendon rupture – is damage that occurs in the back of your lower leg. The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf (lower leg) to the heel bone of your foot. An Achilles tear occurs when you overstretch and damage the Achilles tendon. The injury generally occurs in people participating in sports, but it can also happen when you fall from a height or accidentally step into a hole.
Symptoms of an Achilles tear are:
- Feeling like you’ve been kicked in the calf
- Feeling a pop or snap when the injury occurs
- Inability to bend your foot downward, or push off on that leg when walking
- Inability to stand on the toes of your injured leg
- Pain and swelling near your heel
Your doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and collect your health history to help make a diagnosis.
Your specialist may order imaging – such as an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to confirm an Achilles tear diagnosis.
You should use the RICE method, which includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation, while you’re at home.
Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication – or recommend an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen – to help reduce swelling and pain.
Your doctor may recommend you undergo electrical stimulation therapy to help get relief from your injury.
You may need to work with a physical therapist to help regain strength and use following an Achilles tear..
If your Achilles tendon does not heal on its own, you may need to undergo surgery to repair the tear and help you regain strength.
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