Achilles Tendon Rupture (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Achilles tendon rupture facts
- Function of Achilles tendon
- Blood supply of Achilles tendon
- What is an Achilles tendon rupture?
- What causes an Achilles tendon rupture?
- What are Achilles tendon rupture symptoms and signs?
- How is a ruptured Achilles tendon diagnosed?
- What are treatment options for an Achilles tendon rupture?
- What are possible complications of an Achilles tendon rupture?
- What is the recovery time for an Achilles tendon rupture?
- What rehabilitation exercises are recommended following an Achilles tendon rupture?
- How can an Achilles tendon rupture be prevented?
- Are there any home remedies for an Achilles tendon rupture?
- What is the prognosis of an Achilles tendon rupture?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
How is a ruptured Achilles tendon diagnosed?
Diagnosis of Achilles tendon rupture is not difficult. Usually, the diagnosis is obvious after examination of the ankle and performing some easy foot maneuvers (such as attempting to stand on the toes). When an Achilles tendon rupture occurs, there is often clinical confirmation of tenderness and bruising around the heel. A gap is felt when the finger is passed over the heel area, where the rupture has developed. All individuals with a full-blown rupture of the tendon are unable to stand on their toes. There is no blood work required in making a diagnosis of Achilles tendon rupture. The following are three common radiological tests to make a diagnosis of Achilles tendon rupture:
Plain X-rays of the foot may reveal swelling of the soft tissues around the ankle, other bone injury, or tendon calcification.
Ultrasound is the next most commonly ordered test to document the injury and size of the tear. For a partial tear of the Achilles tendon, the diagnosis is not always obvious on a physical exam and hence an ultrasound is ordered. This painless procedure can make a diagnosis of partial/full Achilles tendon rupture rapidly. Ultrasound is a relatively inexpensive, fast, and reliable test.
MRI is often ordered when diagnosis of tendon rupture is not obvious on ultrasound or a complex injury is suspected. MRI is an excellent imaging test to assess for presence of any soft-tissue trauma or fluid collection. More importantly, MRI can help detect presence of tendon thickening, bursitis, and partial tendon rupture. However, MRI is expensive and is not useful if there is any bone damage.
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