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    How is an achilles tendon rupture treated?

    A rupture of the Achilles tendon is not an uncommon injury in sport and could be quite dramatic when it occurs, because the calf muscles and the connected Achilles tendon play such an significant function. It is more likely to happen in explosive activities like tennis. The real issue is that the achilles tendon and the two muscles connected to it cross two joints (the knee as well as the ankle joint) and if the two joints are moving in contrary directions simultaneously, especially if instantly (as can happen in tennis), then the probability of something going wrong is fairly high. The treating of an achilles tendon rupture is a bit controversial as there are two alternatives that the majority the research shows have much the same outcomes. One option is conservative and the other is operative.

    The conservative option is commonly putting the leg in cast that holds the foot pointing downwards slightly. Normally it takes up to six weeks to heel up and after the cast is removed, there ought to be a slow and gentle return to physical activity. Physiotherapy is usually used to help with that. The surgical option is to surgically stitch the two ends of the tendon together again, this is followed by a period of time in a cast which is shorter compared to the conservative choice, and will be followed by a similar steady and slow resumption of activity. When longer term results are compared the final outcome is generally about the same, but the operative technique has the additional potential for surgical or anaesthetic complications that the conservative strategy does not have. The decision as to which method is best will have to be one dependent on the experiences of the doctor and the preferences of the individual with the rupture. There is a trend for competitive athletes to go down the operative pathway for an achilles tendon rupture since it is believed that this may give a better short term outcome and get the athlete back to the sports field faster.


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