Tendon Rupture: What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

October 8, 2021
Tendon Rupture: What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Injuries of the foot and ankle can be painful and limit a person’s ability to move around and walk. One common injury that affects the foot and the ankle is a tendon rupture. A tendon rupture can occur in different parts of the body such as the knee, arm, shoulder, wrist, hand, foot, and ankle. It is important to learn the best ways to determine if a rupture occurred so that you can take the proper precautions to recover from the injury. This article will discuss some of the signs and symptoms to look for if you suspect that you have a ruptured tendon. 

What is a tendon rupture?

A tendon is a type of fibrous connective tissue that is present throughout the body. The function of a tendon is to connect muscles to bones. A ruptured tendon occurs when there is a complete or partial tear in a tendon. The tears can happen anywhere on the tendon and will require different forms of rehabilitation to recover.

What causes a tendon rupture?

Tendon ruptures can have many causes but most often they are a result of direct trauma to the tendon. The trauma causes the tendon to tear when the force causes excess stress. These ruptures can occur during physical activity like playing a sport or engaging in physical contact to the tendon. Outside of direct trauma, a ruptured tendon can also be caused by steroid injections that are used to treat tendonitis, the use of certain medications like ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, or from diseases like gout and hyperparathyroidism. Medications like ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin can cause tendon rupture because they interfere with the production and renewal of collagen, which is the fiber that makes up a tendon. Another cause of a torn tendon is old age and having blood type O. 

What are the signs and symptoms of a tendon rupture?

Some signs and symptoms of a ruptured tendon may include:

  • Extreme pain in the area
  • Feeling or hearing a loud popping or snapping sound
  • Bruising that is visible immediately following the trauma
  • Weakness and loss of range of motion and strength
  • Deformity of the affected area
  • Loss of ability to do the following
  • Use the limb (arm or leg)
  • Support weight
  • Move the limb on its own

Most common tendon ruptures

  • Quadriceps: Trauma can occur at the knee and cause a quad rupture.
  • Achilles: An Achilles tendon rupture can be direct or progressive. The direct trauma can occur when landing on the sole of the foot after jumping.
  • Rotator Cuff: A rotator cuff tendon rupture happens in the shoulder and can occur due to heavy lifting or breaking a fall with the arm and shoulder
  • Biceps: This can occur while flexing the arm, lifting a heavy amount of weight, or from age regeneration and tendon weakening. 

What is the recovery time for a ruptured tendon?

Tendon ruptures have different recovery times based on the location and the severity of the rupture. Ruptured tendons will not heal on their own. They require surgery and up to 12 weeks to recover. After surgery, the patient will need time to rest followed by physical therapy to strengthen the recovering part of the body. 

Visit us at our website today at Diablo Foot & Ankle or call us at (925) 464-1982 to set up a consultation. If you need help with any pain problems in your feet and ankle call us today. We are happy to help.