Top 5 Exercises for Achilles Rupture
(once you are out of the boot or post-surgery)
Achilles tendon rupture is an fairly rare injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon, the largest and strongest tendon in the human body, tears or ruptures. A rupture is less common than a tear, with a rupture being significantly more serious. This injury is more common in people who participate in sports or other physical activities that involve running or jumping, and is rare in non-sportspeople.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is responsible for the movement of the foot, allowing you to point your toes and push off the ground when walking, running, or jumping. A rupture of the Achilles tendon usually occurs when there is a sudden, forceful movement that overloads the tendon, such as jumping or pivoting while playing sports, or landing from a jump with a sudden change of direction. There is some thought that the tendon has already become weak or degenerate prior to rupture, while others simply believe the sheer forces going through the Achilles is simply too high, causing the tendon to rupture.
In very rare cases, the Achilles tendon can rupture spontaneously, with minimal external force being applied. This is more common in individuals who have a pre-existing weakness or degeneration of the tendon due to age, medical conditions, or prior injuries.
Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture include a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the ankle or calf, a popping or snapping sound at the time of injury, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg. In some cases, the pain may subside after a few minutes or hours, but it is important to get yourself to A&E for further assessment. At Surrey Physio, we also see people who come in with acute rupture. We perform a squeeze test, as well as carefully palpating the tendon. If we find there is a rupture, we’ll refer you to A&E.
The treatment options for an Achilles tendon rupture depend on the severity of the injury, the age and activity level of the patient, and the preferences of the healthcare provider. Non-surgical treatment options include a boot or cast, with rest, ice and elevation. These measures help to reduce pain and swelling and allow the tendon to heal over time.
Surgical treatment is often recommended for athletes and active individuals who require a faster and more complete recovery to return to their previous level of activity. The most common surgical procedure for Achilles tendon rupture is called an Achilles tendon repair, which involves stitching the torn ends of the tendon back together. This procedure may be performed using traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques. However, on the NHS, we’re seeing almost every Achilles rupture being treated non-surgically. This could be due to system demands, or that the research does not strongly recommend surgical versus non-surgical.
Regardless of the type of treatment, physiotherapy is an important part of the recovery process for Achilles tendon rupture. Physiotherapy helps to restore strength, flexibility, and range of movement to the affected leg and prevent future injuries. Surrey Physio, a leading physiotherapy clinic in Surrey, offers a comprehensive range of services to help patients recover from Achilles tendon rupture and other musculoskeletal conditions.
At Surrey Physio, our experienced and highly trained physiotherapists use a combination of manual therapy, exercise therapy, and other modalities to help patients regain function and mobility in the affected leg. We provide personalised treatment plans that are tailored to the unique needs and goals of each patient, ensuring that they receive the best possible care and support throughout their recovery journey.
In addition to physiotherapy, Surrey Physio also offers a range of other services to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and sports injury rehabilitation. Our team of healthcare professionals is committed to providing the highest quality care and support to patients of all ages and activity levels, helping them to live a healthy, active, and pain-free life.
In the meantime, why not try our top 5 exercises for Achilles ruptures. As the quantities of these exercises vary so much from person to person, you should first seek support from a physiotherapist to guide you on how many sets and reps are right for you.
Heel Raises while sitting Two legs
Sit upright on a chair, with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise your heels up onto your toes. Hold, and gradually control the movement back down to the starting position. This is a useful calf pump exercise to improve circulation to your lower legs, as well as improving mobility of the ankles.
Calf Raises two legs
Stand upright and hold onto a wall/table for balance if required. Slowly raise up onto your toes, and control the movement back down. This exercise will strengthen the calf muscles and ankle joints.
Star Excursion Balance Exercise
Place some tape on the floor in a star shape. The angle between each arm of the star is 45 degrees. Stand in the middle of the star on one ankle. This is usually your weaker or injured side. Reach as far along each arm of the star as you can without losing balance or putting your foot down. This is an excellent balance exercise.
Tip Toe Walking
Walk on tip toes. Start by doing it in trainers, but when you get more confident do it in bare feet. It's a fantastic foot, ankle and leg strengthening exercise to the ligaments and muscles. It also helps improve balance.
Sit-down Chair Squat
Stand up, and position yourself in front of a chair or stool. Bend your knees to go into a squat position, and touch your butt on the chair. Then, push up and go into the standing position. Throughout the exercise, keep your knee in-line with your foot, do not let your knee drift outwards or inwards. Also keep your hips and pelvis level as you squat, so you go down in a straight line. Be careful not to slump forwards as you squat, maintain good posture.
In conclusion, Achilles tendon rupture is fortunately an uncommon injury that can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life. While treatment options vary depending on the severity of the injury and other factors, physiotherapy is an essential component of the recovery process. At Surrey Physio, we are dedicated to helping patients recover from Achilles tendon rupture and other musculoskeletal conditions, using the latest evidence-based techniques and personalised treatment plans. If you or a loved one has experienced an Achilles tendon rupture, don't hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you achieve optimal health and wellness.
(Therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com. You can also read more about Achilles Tendon rupture on this article: https://www.rehabmypatient.com/ankle/achilles-tendon-rupture)
If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).