Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect bones with muscles, and their job is to help transfer the force created by muscle into the connected bone to aid in the movement of your joints. They are incredibly durable, but if they are overloaded in a moment of acute stress, they can tear. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the causes, symptoms and treatment options for torn tendons in your foot.
Causes And Symptoms Of Torn Foot Tendons
As we alluded to in the introduction, tendons typically tear when they endure more stress than they can handle. The most well known tendon in the foot and ankle area is the Achilles tendon, and while it is also the largest tendon in your body, it’s not immune from rupture if it is overstressed. Achilles tendon tears, and other tendon tears in the foot for that matter, tend to occur during intense physical activity. Actions like jumping, twisting, and rapid acceleration all put a great amount of force on tendons in your foot and ankle, and if the force is too great, they can rupture.
Achilles tendon tears tend to be most common in patients between the ages of 30-50, due in part to the fact that the tendon has endured a fair amount of repetitive stress at this point in your life. If you are still regularly pushing yourself with athletic activity and exercise, you may be at a slightly higher risk for an Achilles tendon tear. That’s not to say that you should shy away from activity, but you will want to warm up and target your feet with some targeted training exercises to help keep the tendon strong.
Symptoms of a torn foot tendon include:
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the injured foot
- A popping sensation at the moment of injury
Diagnosing And Treating Tendon Tears
If you are dealing with any of the above symptoms and you’re finding it difficult to walk without pain, set up an appointment with a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald. He’ll begin by asking about your symptoms and discussing the moment of injury to get a better idea about the mechanism of injury. From there, he’ll conduct a short physical exam and may have you perform a few movements with the foot and ankle to see how the area responds to stress. Finally, he may order an imaging test to get an inside look at the soft tissues in your feet. An X-ray can help spot potential fractures, but tendon injuries are typically best viewed with an MRI or CT scan.
Treatment will depend on the location and significance of the tendon tear. For example, if you’re dealing with a peroneal tendon tear, rest and physical therapy over the course of a number of weeks may allow the tendon to fully heal. For problems like an Achilles tendon tear, surgery is usually the optimal route because it significantly reduces your risk of a subsequent rupture. Your doctor can walk you through the basics of any procedure should it come to this point, but know that some foot tendon tears can heal on their own with proactive conservative treatment.
Don’t keep hobbling along with a foot tendon tear because the issue likely won’t fully heal if you keep ignoring the problem. Instead, connect with a foot and ankle specialist who can help you put your foot pain in the past. For more information, or for help with a different foot and ankle issue, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.