Partial Achilles tendon rupture

Partial Achilles tendon rupture occurs among individuals in various sports but more likely among jumping, running, throwing and racket sports.

The Achilles tendon is the large-sized tendon at the back part of the ankle. Due to the strong lever system in the ankle and foot, significant forces move through the tendon while jumping and running. A partial Achilles tendon rupture can cause the formation of scar tissue which eventually leads to the inflammation of the tendon. Oftentimes, an individual might not feel the tendon rupture but become aware later when the tendon has cooled down.

Partial Achilles tendon rupture
Abrupt piercing pain in the Achilles tendon. In some cases, the pain might occur later or the next day once the tendon has cooled down and stiffened.

Indications of a partial Achilles tendon rupture

The indications of a partly torn Achilles tendon include the following:

  • Abrupt piercing pain in the Achilles tendon. In some cases, the pain might occur later or the next day once the tendon has cooled down and stiffened.
  • If the individual resumes activity after a short period of rest, there is sharp pain that subsides when warmed up only to return if activity is stopped.
  • Stiffness or rigidity in the tendon upon waking up in the morning
  • Minimal swelling

Management

When caring for an individual with a partial Achilles tendon rupture, you should utilize cold therapy or the RICE method during the initial 2-3 days. Remember that a doctor must be consulted since proper diagnosis is vital. In case the tendon is completely torn, immediate surgery is required.

Medical care

Proper diagnosis of the injury is important. The doctor utilizes the Thompson’s test to assess the Achilles tendon. Taping of the tendon can help alleviate the strain as well as promote healing. Electrotherapy such as ultrasound can reduce the pain and inflammation.

A rehabilitation program is necessary which involves stretching and strengthening exercises. The doctor might also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. In case the tear is severe, it should be immobilized with a plaster cast for 4-6 weeks.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on partial Achilles tendon rupture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage tendon injuries, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.

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