Suspension bridges are pretty neat structures, using the tension in strong cables to hold them up. These supports are designed to handle significantly heavy weight, of course. You can see that next time you drive over one and the bridge holds up you and all the vehicles around you. A maintained bridge wouldn’t just fall down; something would have to damage its cables first. The same is true for your Achilles and an Achilles tendon rupture. Your tendons don’t just tear on their own. Something has to make it happen.
There are multiple causes of an Achilles tendon rupture. This particular tendon is the largest in your body and consistently gets used to support a significant amount of strain when you stand or walk. It’s designed to handle this. At the same time, the Achilles does have limits. Pushing the tendon past those limits is what causes a tear.
This can happen lots of different ways. It could be something sudden. This is most common with athletes. Jumping, falling, tripping, and even stepping into a hole in the ground can suddenly stretch the tendon past its normal range. The tendon snaps and you are left in pain and unable to push off the ground.
This isn’t the only way a tendon tears, however. Other factors can make the injury more likely. Often the Achilles is actually weakened by injuries before it ruptures. Inflammation and thickening from tendonitis and overuse are the most common problems. The damage to your Achilles stiffens it, making it weaker, much less flexible, and more prone to tearing when it’s under stress.
Even certain medications can increase your risk for a rupture. Some medicines weaken tendons as an unfortunate side effect. This can happen with direct injections of certain anti-inflammatory medicines, which is why they’re not used very often.
No matter what causes your tendon to snap, when it happens, it needs immediate care. You don’t want to end up with a permanently weakened and painful foot. Let Dr. Darren Silvester and the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, help you protect your feet. Don’t wait if you think you might have any kind of tear in your Achilles. Call (830) 569-3338 or use our website to make an appointment with us.