Pain in the Heel: Achilles Tendon Rupture

Maybe you’ve felt that agonizing pain in the back of your heel before—one moment you’re running or jumping, and the next you feel a sharp snap in the back of your foot. Suddenly you can barely walk and your ankle is swollen and bruised. Chances are high that you have torn or ruptured that main tendon that moves your foot – your Achilles. Personal weaknesses are called our Achilles’ heels for good reason: when this tendon has a problem, our ability to move around effectively is severely impaired.

Achilles Tendon Injuries and Ruptures

A Painful Injury

This strong, rope-like tissue connects your calf muscle to your heel bone and is what allows you rise up on your toes and push off the ground for any forward movement, including walking, running, and jumping. When it partially tears or ruptures completely, your calf is not able to pull on the heel bone. This means that pushing off the ground becomes extremely difficult.

This injury is caused by a sudden increase of the stress on the tendon. The tissues are stretched too far and are unable to handle the strain. This frequently occurs in athletes, especially if they have not properly conditioned their feet, ankles, and calf muscles. It can also occur in people who aren’t active regularly and try to do more at one time than their tendons are able to handle.

Immediate Treatment

A tendon rupture is a serious injury that requires immediate attention for it to recover. The sooner it’s treated, the better it heals. If left on its own, it could be permanently weakened. The specialists at Dallas Podiatry Works can usually diagnose the injury after a complete examination of your foot, though additional diagnostic tools may be used, like MRIs, to confirm it and get a clear picture of the extent of the damage. If your Achilles is only partially torn, some conservative options may be available for treatment. The foot and ankle will need to be stabilized in a boot or cast while the torn edges grow back together. In many cases, however, the tear will be wide enough that you will need surgery. If it ruptured completely, surgery will most certainly be necessary to regain strength and movement.

You will have to stay off the foot and wear a protective boot for about a month after surgery. At that time Drs. Joel Brook, Arroyo, and McClurkin will determine if you are able to start putting weight on your foot again. You will need physical therapy to help your muscles and tendons rebuild their strength to be able to do their jobs without being reinjured. By six months, most people are able to return to their activities.

Before it Tears

Most would agree that preventing a significant injury like an Achilles’ tendon rupture is better than having to deal with the problem after it happens. Since a rupture is caused by a sudden increase in strain on the tendon, conditioning your feet and ankles can help prevent a tear. Stretch out your calf muscles before and after exercising. Build up endurance for any activity slowly and over time. Vary your exercises as well—alternate between high-impact activities that are hard on your feet and low-impact ones. Be aware of your shoe choice, too. Supportive and well-fitted shoes relieve stress on the heel and help protect it.

Snapping your Achilles’ tendon is not just painful, it impairs your ability to walk and move effectively. Even if the initial injury is not a complete tear, failing to treat it adequately can lead to one later. Ignoring full ruptures could permanently weaken your feet and even disable you. If you or someone you care about may have this injury, do not ignore the pain or hope it’ll get better on its own. Seek immediate care and set your feet on the path to recovery. For an appointment or more information, contact Dallas Podiatry Works by visiting the online contact page or by calling one of our two office locations: for the Dallas location, call 972.853.7100; to reach us in Plano, call (972) 943-3323.

The doctor has great “bedside manners” when talking to patients. Great staff and comfortable atmosphere.

Derrick W.

The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of foot care.

Joseph B.

I would highly recommend Dr. Brook to anyone with foot problems–especially problems that stump other podiatrists. He really is very caring and very knowledgeable.

Jeannette H.

Dr. Joel Brook and the staff were nice and helpful. Though I was a new patient, I got right in as soon as they were open in my preferred location. They diagnosed the problem and provided medicines along with a perfect gel bandage so I could keep exercising while my toes healed. My toes already hurt less and look a little better each day. If I have future issues, I will be a repeat customer. Here’s hoping I don’t, but at least I know my feet are in good hands.

Meryl E.

I visited this office for an ingrown toe nail a few years ago. After seeing another doctor, who made it worse, he referred me to Dallas Podiatry Works. The doctor there was able to fix my problem. I’m not great with reviews, all I can tell you is that this doctor and staff will have you up and running or doing whatever it is you do in no time. You will be in great hands. You’d be a fool not to use this doctor. Now its time to visit him again for the other toe.

Google User

Been having bad ankle pains for 6 months was referred here and it was a great visit ladies in the front desk medical assistants and the Doctor were all very friendly and make you feel very comfortable.

Elizabeth G.

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Dallas Office: 12221 Merit Drive, Suite 280, Dallas, TX 75251

Plano Office: 5068 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 155, Plano, TX 75093

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