Can a torn Achilles heal on its own?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Can a torn Achilles heal on its own?

When it comes to Achilles tendon injuries, it is important to understand that while some cases may heal without the need for surgery, ALL of them require proper medical care. The Achilles tendon is a strong band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, and it is crucial for activities such as walking, running, and jumping. So, it is essential to give this injury the attention it deserves.

In some cases, a partial tear or mild strain of the Achilles tendon may be able to heal on its own with conservative measures. These can include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with the use of a walking boot or brace to immobilize the foot and ankle. Physical therapy exercises may also be prescribed to help stretch and strengthen the tendon as it heals.

However, it is important to note that even with these conservative treatments, there is a risk of re-injury or incomplete healing. Without proper medical intervention, there is a higher chance of developing complications such as chronic pain, tendon thickening, or even a complete rupture of the tendon.

For more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. This is especially true for a complete tear or a significant injury to the Achilles tendon. Surgery may involve suturing the torn ends of the tendon back together or using other techniques such as tendon grafts. The decision to undergo surgery will depend on various factors, including the extent of the injury, the patient’s activity level, and their overall health.

As a foot and ankle specialist, I have seen many patients with Achilles tendon injuries, and the outcomes can vary. While some individuals may experience successful healing with conservative treatment alone, others may require surgical intervention to achieve optimal results. It is crucial to consult with a specialist who can assess the injury and provide personalized recommendations based on the individual’s specific circumstances.

While some Achilles tendon injuries can heal without surgical intervention, they all warrant proper medical care. It is best to seek the expertise of a foot and ankle specialist who can evaluate the injury, provide appropriate treatment options, and guide the patient through the recovery process. Remember, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to a vital structure like the Achilles tendon.