If you play any sort of sport, you have probably heard a lot about athletes hurting or tearing their menisci in their knees or their rotator cuff ligaments in their shoulders. Another injury that commonly occurs but which you hear less about affects the Achilles tendon. There are actually three kinds of Achilles tendon injuries, and there are different treatment approaches provided by orthopaedic surgeons.
Tendonitis of the Achilles tendon is an inflammation injury. Swelling is present and your tendon may feel like it is on fire. It is not badly damaged but rather just really irritated. Icing the tendons, rest, and slowly getting back into an exercise routine is what most orthopaedic surgeons would recommend. If the tendonitis gets especially bad, a surgeon may be able to alleviate some of the pain by treating your flat feet and surgically stretching your plantar fasciae on the bottoms of your feet, which in turn relieves some tension on the Achilles tendons.
A torn Achilles tendon is usually a partial to almost complete tear, but not a totally complete tear. The surgical procedure is almost the same for a ruptured tendon because the surgeon will have to open the back of your ankle, find the torn tendon, sew the torn pieces back together and then place your foot in some type of immobilization while the tendon heals. As it heals, your physical therapist will gradually increase the amount of stretch you give the tendon until it can function with the range of normal again, but you may have to limit your intense physical workouts for a long time after surgery and therapy have both been completed.
A ruptured Achilles tendon is the worst of these three types of tendon injuries. This means that, whatever caused it to happen, your Achilles just ripped away from itself, your heel bone or the end of your calf your calf muscle completely and instantly. Although the surgery for this injury is very similar to a torn tendon, it does require a longer healing and therapy period than just a tear. Additional surgeries may be needed if the tendon heals too tightly, an occurrence that happens often with a completely ruptured tendon. Your orthopaedic surgeon will be able to tell you more about the extent of the damage to your tendon after the initial repair surgery, and whether or not you can expect more surgery in the future.
Visit an orthopaedic surgeon such as Tedder Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center for more information.