Joint Preservation Blog

January 2, 2009

MRI Showing Tear Achilles tendon

MRI Showing Tear Achilles Tendon. MRI’s are pictures that show soft tissue as well as bones. The Achilles tendon is made of up dense collogen and often appears black on MRI sequences used to look for ligament or tendon tears (usually T1 or proton density sequences). A white or light colored area in the tendon on these sequences usually means a tear in the tendon. A partial tear is when the lighter colored area diesn’t extend all the way through the tendon and the two parts on either side of the tendon are still attached to one another. On the other end of the spectrum is a full or complete tear where the two ends are retracted and pulled apart. If the tear is partial, then the patient is usually immobilized in a walking cast or boot for several weeks. This aggressive immobilization can be a two edged sword, as the lack of activity can also weaken the area. If this doesn’t work, then surgery to sew the tear may be recommended, but this requires large amounts of downtime to allow the sutures to mend the area. Newer stem cell based treatments for partial Achilles tendon tears are injection based and allow for more activity.

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Achilles Tendon Support Socks

The Achilles tendon can be weakened by injury or being overloaded.  Support socks for the Achilles tendon will add compression around the tendon which may allow it to feel like it has greater support.   In essence, this pressure gives the tendon more structure.  Look for support socks that place pressure on the tendon (the heel cord) without causing pain.  The need for support in the Achilles tendon is usually from a partialtear or chronically frayed tissue in the tendon.  Another way to treat this without surgery or bracing is to use the patients own stem cells to repair the tendon.  These are cells taken from the patient, grown in the lab, and then injected into the tendon so that they can orchestrate a healing response.  With this type of Achilles tendon repair therapy, the need for Achilles tendon support socks can be eliminated.  This type of Achilles tendon treatment is new to the US and holds great promise for making the tendon stronger.

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