Your Achilles tendon, which connects your heel to your calf muscles, is prone to overuse injuries. Achilles tendinitis happens when the tendon becomes overused and inflamed, and in serious cases, the tendon can even rupture.
At Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, our board-certified podiatrists are experienced when it comes to treating traumatic foot injuries, such as ruptured Achilles tendons. If you suspect you’ve injured your Achilles tendon, we encourage you to arrange an appointment at one of our seven southern Florida locations.
In the meantime, we answer a common question: Will a ruptured Achilles tendon heal on its own?
Did you rupture your Achilles tendon?
You might suspect that you ruptured your tendon if the pain is severe and limits your ability to walk.
Before you embark on any treatment plan, our team at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists first determines the extent of your injury.
To diagnose a ruptured Achilles tendon, we perform a thorough physical exam, a review of your symptoms, and a review of imaging tests, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Be prepared to answer questions regarding the extent of your pain, how and when you sustained the injury, where the pain is located, and how it affects your ability to walk.
If your Achilles tendon is strained rather than ruptured, it still requires treatment. Potential treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Orthotics to ease stress on your tendon
In these cases, your tendon is likely to heal on its own with the proper care.
You can prevent future tendon injuries by cross-training, easing into any training program, refraining from increasing mileage by more than 10% per week, and always warming up and cooling down during each exercise session.
If you ruptured your tendon, you may need surgery. To answer the titular question, some partial tendon ruptures can heal without surgery. That being said, complete tears may require surgery, especially if you wish to return to your usual activities, such as jogging or biking.
You might also require tendon repair surgery if you tried conservative treatments without any improvement.
Surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon
There are many different types of Achilles tendon repair surgeries, but an open repair is a common option.
During the surgery, we suture the two ends of your ruptured tendon together. After the sutures are in place, we may place a cast that runs from your knee down to your foot to hold your foot in the optimal position for healing.
After the surgery, you receive specific post-op instructions, which may include:
- Pain medication instructions
- When to expect cast removal
- When you can wear a boot
- How long to keep weight off your affected foot
Physical therapy is a key component of your recovery, and you can expect to undergo physical therapy for several months. It helps you regain calf strength and improve the range of motion in your foot.
You won’t be able to return immediately to your favorite activities, but surgery can give you a good chance at a successful (and safe) return to exercise. Set reasonable expectations for yourself and know that it can take up to a year to fully recover.
To learn more about Achilles tendon rupture repair, request an appointment at the location closest to you. Our offices are in Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Coral Springs, and Boca Raton, Florida.