Torn Tendon in the Ankle: Symptoms and Treatment

Tendons are bands of connective tissue that connect the muscles to the bones and allow those muscles in the leg to move the foot.  A torn tendon in the ankle can cause weakness or loss of some functions of the ankle.  The most well-known tendon in the ankle is the Achilles tendon, which is located at the back of the ankle.  The Achilles tendon is one of the most commonly torn tendons.  Two other commonly torn tendons are the posterior tibial tendon, which is located along the medial side of the ankle and the peroneal tendon, which is located on the lateral portion of the ankle. 

As there are different tendons in the foot, there are also different types of tendon tears.  Acute tears are described as being the result of trauma or a sudden movement which causes the tendon to snap.  The other type of tendon tear is a degenerative or chronic tear, which is the result of overuse and typically occurs over the course of a few years when the tendon is continuously being stretched thin, which causes it to fray and eventually tear completely. 

If you have a torn tendon in the ankle, the most common symptoms are ankle pain and swelling.  The pain can be quite severe and the swelling typically occurs in the area surrounding the torn tendon.  On occasion, an individual can hear the tendon actually break, which results in a popping or snapping sound.

Treatment for a torn tendon in the ankle varies and depends on what type of tear it is and how severe of a tear it is.  There are different treatments for a partial tear versus a complete tear.  In order to figure out which it is, an MRI might be required.  If it ends up being a partial tear, this can be treated with immobilization of the ankle by either casting or bracing it and staying off of it as much as possible.  This gives the tendon time to heal and it prevents further injury from occurring.  For the pain and swelling, normally these are treated with ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.  If the tear is a complete tear, this normally requires surgery in order to reconnect the severed tendon.  

Contact us today if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above.   

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