Achilles Tendinopathy Diagnosis
Diagnosing an Achilles Tendon Injury
Common Diagnostic Tests for the Achilles Tendon
Diagnostic testing to obtain more detailed information, and assess the amount and/or type of damage done to your Achilles tendon. There are a variety of different tests available to help them analyze the situation; however the recommendation will be dependent on your injury.
The Thompson Test is a common physical exam that doctors use to determine if an Achilles tendon has ruptured.
This test involves the patient lying face down on the exam table with knees at a 90 degree angle. The doctor squeezes the calf muscles of the injured leg. If the foot flexes downward (like trying to point your toes) the Achilles tendon is not torn. If the Achilles tendon is torn, the foot does not move.
X-rays don't show much relative to tendons and other soft tissue but it will provide an image of the overall bone structure of your ankle. It is helpful in identifying bone spurs, calcifications within the tendon, fractures or degeneration of the heel bone.
CAT or CT scans can be used to provide a 3-dimensional assessment of the bones and soft tissues in and around your Achilles tendon and may be used to identify a tendon tear.
MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) will provide more detailed information and will help to evaluate the Achilles tendon damage. An MRI can diagnose tendinosis, tissue damage and tears, and/or other associated conditions.
The type of test recommended will depend on your symptoms and the opinion of your medical professional.
Treating an Achilles Tendon Injury
Your doctor will give advice to use conservative treatments before even suggesting surgery. It is generally understood by doctors and surgeons, that surgery will introduce more scar tissue into the any already damaged tissue. This added scar tissue will be problematic, requiring more PT and conservative treatment options post-surgery. If not dealt with properly, your tendonitis injury could end up in worse condition than before the surgery! This is why surgery is only performed as a last resort.
Most doctors, surgeons and orthopedic specialists will recommend conservative treatment methods for Achilles Tendon injuries before even considering surgery. Some conservative treatment methods recommended include:
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!