What are the long term effects of a torn Achilles?

Answered by John Hunt

The long-term effects of a torn Achilles tendon can vary depending on the severity of the injury, the individual’s age, overall health, and the treatment received. However, there are some common issues that individuals may experience in the aftermath of a torn Achilles tendon.

1. Residual discomfort: Following a torn Achilles tendon, it is not uncommon for individuals to experience residual pain or discomfort in the affected area. This can be particularly noticeable during certain activities such as walking, running, or jumping. The discomfort may also be exacerbated in different weather conditions, such as cold or damp environments.

2. Balance and gait problems: The Achilles tendon plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and a normal gait. After a tear, individuals may have difficulty maintaining their balance and may experience an altered gait pattern. This can lead to an increased risk of falls and potential injuries.

3. Weakness in the affected leg: The injured leg may experience a significant decrease in strength compared to the uninjured leg. This can result in overcompensating with the uninjured leg, which may lead to imbalances and issues with mobility. Strengthening exercises and physical therapy can help improve the strength of the affected leg over time.

4. Limited mobility: Depending on the severity of the tear and the individual’s recovery, there may be a temporary or permanent limitation in mobility. This can impact daily activities such as climbing stairs, walking long distances, or participating in sports or recreational activities.

5. Psychological impact: Suffering a torn Achilles tendon and going through the recovery process can have a psychological impact on individuals. It can be a frustrating and challenging experience, often requiring a significant amount of time, effort, and patience. Dealing with the limitations and the potential loss of activities they once enjoyed can lead to feelings of sadness, frustration, or even depression.

6. Risk of re-injury: Individuals who have suffered a torn Achilles tendon are at an increased risk of re-injury. Even with proper healing and rehabilitation, the tendon may be more susceptible to future tears or strains. Therefore, it is important to take precautions and engage in appropriate strengthening and stretching exercises to reduce the risk of re-injury.

It is important to note that while these long-term effects are common, they are not inevitable for everyone who experiences a torn Achilles tendon. With proper treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care, many individuals can regain strength, mobility, and resume their normal activities. However, it is crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan and to address any lingering issues or concerns.