The Achilles tendon is a strong, firm rope-like tissue that allows the muscles in the back of the legs to move the foot and ankle. This motion moves the ankle downward and resists it from moving too far upward. The Achilles tendon is robust and sturdy but is not always resistant to injury. Chronic stress and strain can eventually cause tissue in this spot to weaken and fray. This condition is taken care of by our physical therapists in Valley Stream, NY.
ACHILLES TENDON REHABILITATION WITH STATE OF THE ART PHYSICAL THERAPY, VALLEY STREAM, NY
This chronic stress usually results from walking on slopes, stairs, ladders, or other uneven surfaces regularly or from simple repetitive athletic activities when one has not stretched their calf properly. Over time the damage gradually increases. The tendon’s weak spot has less blood supply than the rest of the muscle, so any bad injury will multiply over time as the tendon is less able to heal itself in this spot.
Once the Achilles tendon has ruptured, walking becomes incredibly challenging and unsteady. Those who have ruptured their Achilles tendon have reported hearing a popping or snapping sound. They also endure a searing pain which is soon followed by bruising, swelling, warmth increase to the skin, redness, and sometimes even a depression under the skin in thinner people if the Achilles tendon is prominent.
Achilles tendon ruptures are relatively easy to diagnose by our physical therapists in Valley Stream, NY, although an MRI is often performed to confirm the fracture and assess the amount of tissue damage. Upon examining, the physical therapist in Valley Stream, NY, will note the swelling and pain, as well as a possible gap where the Achilles tendon is usually located. The calf muscle may feel balled-up, and certain functional tests will be performed to assess the strength and functional loss of the calf muscles. The MRI will help guide the doctor in planning surgery to fix the tissue rupture and will show if there is any other special injury pattern that needs to be considered, such as chronic tendon degeneration or a significant retraction of the cord up into the leg.
Treatment usually requires surgery to repair the ruptured ends of the tendon. The vast majority of these injuries are treated with surgery, as the non-surgical treatment does not necessarily allow for the strongest repair and healing potential. Nonsurgical treatment such as of the placement of knee cast with crutches can be done when needed. This technique can be performed on partial ruptures, but those with full ruptures of the Achilles tendon will need surgery. There are those for whom surgery is not advisable due to age, health reasons or other complications, and that is why non-surgical care is sometimes performed in a full rupture.
Regardless of what must be done to complete the repair, Achilles tendon repair surgery is usually followed by four weeks of non-weight bearing with a below knee cast and crutches, with at least four weeks of protective weight bearing to support. Treatment is necessary as soon as the tendon is strong enough not to rupture again in the postoperative period and is being done by our physical therapists at State of the Art Physical Therapy in Valley Stream, NY. Return to full activity can take many months since we wanted full recovery.