Ankle and Feet Issues and Care Tips: A Podiatry Blog

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What a Podiatrist Wants You To Know About Achilles Tendon Tears

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The Achilles Tendon is made up of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel. It is a tendon that professional athletes and people who are active can tear through rigorous activity, or because the tendon has grown weak through repeated stress. If you have suffered an Achilles injury, here are some important things that a podiatrist will tell you so that you are more aware about the healing process.

Tears Aren't All the Same -- Just because you suffer an Achilles tendon tear doesn't mean that all tears are equal. Podiatrists, like those at Balance Podiatry, typically identify two main types of tears, partial tears and complete tears. When the tendon that connects your calf and your heel gives way, it either partially tears, meaning a portion of it is still connected to the calf, or it ruptures completely, meaning there are no strands of tendon still attached to the calf or heel. And just because you suffer a partial tear doesn't mean that you will recover quicker than with a complete tear that is surgically repaired, because partial tears are usually not repaired by surgery, and require time for the tendon to heal and grow stronger.

There Are Several Treatment Options -- You often hear of professional athletes immediately having surgery after a complete tear of their Achilles tendon because there is great pressure on them to return to work as soon as possible. Podiatrists typically recommend surgery for a complete tear of the Achilles tendon, but will often recommend rest for a partial tear to see if the tendon will repair itself and grow stronger over time. Achilles surgery involves the reattachment of the tendon, either from a graft or from what's left over of your torn one. The repaired tendon is as strong if not stronger than your old tendon, and the surgical procedure helps reduce the likelihood of another tear.

Recovery Can Take As Much as Six Months -- Although recovery timetables vary, many people who suffer partial or complete tears of the Achilles tendon can take as long as six months before you resume normal activity. Recovery from a partial tear is actually more problematic than from a complete tear that is repaired with surgery, because a partially torn tendon that has healed, has a greater chance of tearing again due to the fact that it hasn't been strengthened through the surgical process. Many people find that the most difficult aspect of recovery is learning to trust that the tendon won't snap again during physical activity.