Achilles tendon rupture
When your Achilles tendon snaps it is known as an Achilles tendon rupture. This can often occur spontaneously, without any symptoms. If you hear and/or feel a ‘pop’ or ‘snap’ this could be an indication that your Achilles tendon has ruptured.
Middle-aged male athletes are those who are most likely to experience an Achilles tendon rupture, during a game of basketball, for example.
Injury often occurs during sports that involve jumping, running and pivoting. Sports that involve these kinds of movement include basketball, tennis, soccer and softball.
Causes of Achilles tendon rupture
An Achilles rupture can occur when:
- You fall from a considerable height
- You forcefully push-off with your foot as your knee are in a straightened position. An example of this may be when jumping or starting a race.
- You experience a trip or stumble and in while doing so you put your foot in front to stop this occurring and therefore stretch the tendon. Also known as a deceleration injury. This is the typical mechanism on injury.
- Previous history of Achilles tendonitis results in a degenerative tendon, which can grow thin and weak with age and lack of use. This can cause injury and rupture. Other factors that can increase the risk of rupture are certain medications (such as corticosteroids and some antibiotics) and certain illnesses (such as diabetes and arthritis).
Symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture
A huge 20-30% of Achilles tendon ruptures are missed with some health practitioners failing to perform a simple clinical test known as the Thompson (calf squeeze) test. An MRI or ultrasound can confirm an Achilles tendon rupture.
Treatment of Achilles tendon rupture
Following a rupture of the Achilles tendon there is a surgical and non-surgical option for recovery. Regardless of this early intervention is necessary to achieve the best outcome, so there can be no delaying treatment. This is especially true for athletes who need the quickest return to sport. There are advantages and disadvantages of both surgical and non-surgical treatments and repair of the Achilles tendon rupture. These factor will be discussed with the patient and a decision will be made.
Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) is a chiropractic and physiotherapy centre of excellence specialising in sports and sports injuries. We offer evidence-based treatments for a wide range of muscle and joint injuries.