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Medical History and Physical Exam for Achilles Tendon Problems


Medical History and Physical Exam for Achilles Tendon Problems

Medical history

Your doctor will ask you questions about your past medical history, including injuries to your Achilles tendon. These questions may include the following:

  • Did your pain start gradually or suddenly?
  • If gradually, what sports or activities are you involved in? How often do you do these activities? Does changing how you do the activity affect the pain?
  • Have you injured your Achilles tendon before? How was it treated?
  • Have you had any corticosteroid injections in your Achilles tendon?
  • If your pain started suddenly, what were you doing when you were injured?
  • Did you feel or hear a pop at the time of injury?
  • Could you walk after the injury?

Physical exam

During a physical exam, your doctor will thoroughly examine you, including:

  • Checking and comparing both legs to see what is normal motion and how the injury (tendinopathy or ruptureClick here to see an illustration.) has affected your lower leg and ankle.
  • Checking for swelling and tenderness.
  • Feeling your lower leg for gaps in your Achilles tendon, thickening of the tendon, or bony growths on the heel bone.
  • Observing how you stand and walk.
  • Performing the calf squeeze test to identify a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Additional testing may include a:

  • Knee-flexion test, to observe foot movement when the knee is flexed.
  • Needle test, to observe the movement of a needle that is inserted into the calf near the tendon.
  • Pressure test, to observe the pressure on an inflated wrap around the calf.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Last RevisedJanuary 3, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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