Achilles tendon ruptures can happen in the athlete from overuse or extreme sports. They can also happen in the elderly.
In young individuals, the patient knows they did something. There is often an audible pop when the tendon ruptures. This is followed by burning and weakness in the back of the ankle. In the elderly, they may not be aware they have damaged their tendon because the tendon slowly degenerates, and the rupture may be much more subtle. Either way, this condition needs to be addressed.
With younger athletic patients, surgery is recommended. The surgery is relatively simple, but the recovery time is what takes a while. The repaired tendon must be protected, which means no weight on the foot for up to three months. The reason for the long recovery time is because of the amount of force that is placed on the Achilles tendon.
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the human body. With each step, the Achilles tendon elevates the entire body weight during the toe-off portion of gait. Following an Achilles tendon rupture repair, these forces must be eliminated until the tendon has healed back together.