Tendon Rupture (Ankle/leg/foot)

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

Cause: Trauma, overuse, sudden loading (weekend warrior injury).

Appearance: Sudden popping and pain, swelling, bruising, unable to walk.

How to Diagnose: MRI, Ultrasound, clinical exam


- Prevention is the best treatment

o Stretching before and after activity

- If there is no gapping/defect between tendon ends

o 6 weeks of immobilized non-weightbearing

o Physical therapy to repair the gliding motion of the tendon

o In high level athletes, newer studies have advocated for early surgery

- If there is gapping

o Surgery is indicated for most tendons

- There has not been definitive proof that PRP aids in post-surgical healing

Long-term prognosis: It has been shown that Achilles tendon ruptures have a higher chance of reoccurring if not fixed surgically. Data on other tendons is varying. Physical therapy and stretching before and after activity is vital in restoring and maintaining gliding of the tendons.

Some tendons in the foot are difficult to access and therefore should not be approached surgically, but this depends on the nature and location of the rupture. Custom or OTC bracing can also help prevent future ruptures. As stated before, stretching before and after activity is the best prevention.

Tennis is a sport rife with tendon injury due to the rapid, cutting, side-to-side movements. Most players are timid after a tendon rupture and avoid quick movements, opting to let balls go they rather would have chased after before, the only fix for this is stretching, active rehab, and time to get confidence in your body back.

Who to call: Podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon

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