“I heard a POP in the back of my leg!”
Jenny is a 62-year-old female. She came to see me 3 weeks after suffering an injury while stepping off of a curb. Jenny stated that she stepped down off of the curb and it felt like someone threw a ball or kicked her in the back of her leg. She said there was some pain but more than any thing she noticed instantly she had some trouble getting around and felt “weak” in her ankle. Jenny had been dealing with some Achilles tendinitis for a couple months prior and was seeing her primary care physician (PCP) for treatment. She went back to her PCP who ordered x-rays and an MRI. X-rays were normal with no signs of fracture. The MRI demonstrated a 4.5 cm gap between the ends of the ruptured Achilles tendon. The patient had been walking on this leg the entire time before I saw her. The downside of waiting so long to see me, is that the ends of the tendon will have retracted more, thus causing a greater gap and the necessity of a more major surgery to span the gap that exists from the rupture. Once I saw Jenny, we set her up for surgery later that week to have an Achilles tendon repair with transfer of the tendon that flexes her big toe to span the gap of the ruptured Achilles.
Jenny underwent the surgery. We excised all of the scar tissue and transferred another tendon from the back of her leg to replace the pull of the Achilles. Jenny’s recovery followed a normal course. Jenny is still in the recovery process but progressing well. I anticipate a full recovery for her.
Achilles tendon ruptures are quite common. If treated conservatively can have as high as a 50% re-rupture rate. Surgical treatment results in approximately a 10% re-rupture rate. Although surgery is not the answer for everyone, early detection and prompt treatment is imperative for a good functional result. Also, the sooner the condition is addressed, it is easier to repair and reconstructive techniques are less likely to be necessary. If you are playing a sport and “hear a pop,” in your foot or ankle.” Don’t hesitate; give one of our doctors at Indiana Podiatry Group a call!