Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

I was doing a lay up while playing a pick-up game of basketball. I had just landed from a jump and tried to jump again too soon. I felt a pop along the back of my ankle but there's no pain or swelling. I can walk, but I can't jump. Do I need to see a doctor or just give it time to heal?

Answer:

From the description you've given, it sounds like you may have ruptured your Achilles tendon. A medical exam is needed to know for sure. Early treatment of Achilles tendon injuries is essential for a good result. Re-injury is common but can be avoided.

The doctor will use your history of what happened along with some special tests to make a diagnosis. The doctor will rule out ankle sprain, blood clot, and tendinitis.

The Thompson test is a reliable way to check for Achilles tendon rupture. The patient lies prone (face down) on the exam table. The doctor squeezes the calf muscle just below its widest point. In a normal response, the foot flexes when the doctor does this. If the tendon is torn, the foot won't move.

X-rays aren't usually very helpful unless a piece of bone was pulled off with the tendon during the injury. Ultrasound may be a better way to see what's happening.

Because there are so many different ways to treat an Achilles, patients are advised to see an orthopedic surgeon. You may not need surgery but even conservative care with casting or splinting must be done properly for the best result. Waqqar Khan-Farooqi, MD, and Robert B. Anderson, MD. Achilles Tendon Evaluation and Repair. In The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. May 2006. Vol. 23. No. 5. Pp. 347-358.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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