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Causes Of Foot And Ankle Tendon Tears

Unlike ligaments, which connect bones to bones, tendons connect muscles to bones. As a result, tendons play a critical role in the movement of ankles and feet. When ruptured or torn, tendons are no longer able to support the bending, contraction, and rotation of the foot and can cause debilitating pain. 

With an estimated 30% of people struggling with tendon injuries, it is of paramount importance to understand – and avoid! – the causes behind tendon damage. Let’s look at the most common ones below. 

Sporting Activities And Manual Labor

Playing sports, such as basketball, tennis, and football, or enduring strenuous manual labor as part of your job can increase your risk of a tendon tear. In a 2013 study, sporting activities were responsible for 68% of tendon injuries. 


Direct trauma, such as a blow to the foot or ankle, can cause a partial or complete tear of one or more of the peroneal tendons (the tendons that attach to the external and internal part of the foot to the toes) or the Achilles Tendon. This happens because for two main reasons:

  • The blow to the foot or ankle excessive force on the tendon, thus breaking it apart from the muscles and bones it is attached to. 
  • Bone fractures can impact how the tendons attach to the bone and muscle tissue, which can cause them to overstretch. 

In some rare cases, an avulsion can also happen. This kind of injury occurs when a blow to the ankle or foot causes the tendon to pull off a piece of a broken bone it was originally attached to.

Steroid Injections And Some Antibiotics

Some medications, such as steroid injections and antibiotics (specifically fluoroquinolones) can cause tendon weakness. A 2022 study showed that participants receiving steroid injections were more than 7 times more likely to have a tendon injury.

Advanced Age

The aging process can cause tendons to become weaker and less flexible, lose elasticity, and tolerate less stress. This makes them more prone to injuries and tears. Additionally, conditions common in the elderly, such as gout and thyroid disorders, have been reported to increase the risk of tendon tears. 

Excessive Loading And Foot Strain

Excessive strain on the foot during repetitive movements, such as jumping or landing, can increase the risk of tendon tears in the foot. This can happen for several reasons, including the following ones:

  • Forceful extension (i.e.: suddenly forcing the sole of the feet upwards, such as in when landing after a jump)
  • Strain from carrying or pushing heavy weights by putting excessive stress on the feet
  • Repetitive movements (i.e.: jumping) that put stress on the tendons and cause micro-tears, thus weakening the tendon and making it more prone to injuries.
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Symptoms Of Foot And Ankle Tendon Tears 

Foot and ankle tendon tears are not extremely common, but they can be debilitating conditions. In particular, Achilles tendon injuries can take up to six months to heal and, if left untreated, can lead to ongoing disability. 

Learning to recognize the signs of a tendon tear can help you seek treatment immediately, thus speeding up recovery and preventing further damage. Here are the symptoms to watch out for:


Tendon tears are often associated with a popping snapping sound at the time of injury or “crunching” sensations when using the tendon. The tear is also often accompanied by excruciating pain radiating from the affected area. 


Bruising is more likely in the event of a tendon tear caused by traumatic injury. When the foot receives the blow, the excessive force can cause the capillaries (small blood vessels) near the skin’s surface to break, thus causing the blood to leak onto nearby tissue and creating a bruise. 


Swelling is one of the most common symptoms of a torn or ruptured tendon and part of the human body’s reaction to tissue damage. After an injury, the body increases the concentration of healing fluids and blood cells in the affected area, thus causing the surrounding tissue to swell. 


When a tendon is torn, it no longer supports the proper functioning of the bones and muscles it is attached to. This can result in weakness in the ankle and a feeling of instability while walking or running. 

Reduced Range Of Motion

A traumatic tendon injury can cause severe pain and swelling, which can cause your ankle to feel stiff and reduce your range of motion. Even in the case of a mildly torn tendon, the connected bones and muscles might not be able to move as they are supposed to, thus inhibiting motion. 

Inability To Bear Weight

If you have a torn tendon in the foot or ankle, you might find it painful to load force onto your lower limbs, such as when you are walking. Nonetheless, you might still be able to walk or stand if you have a torn or ruptured tendon. 

For example, in the case of a damaged Achilles tendon, you might be unable to bear weight when on your injured foot’s tiptoes, but you might still be able to walk using the back of your foot (though it could be painful).


Regenerative Treatment Options For Foot And Ankle Tendon Tears

Orthagenex’s advanced bone marrow concentrate and blood platelet treatments provide non-surgical treatment options for those suffering from joint or bone pain, torn or strained tendons and ligaments, or other common injuries and degenerative conditions. Our regenerative procedures offer a viable alternative for patients with foot and ankle tendon tears and considering surgery.

Super-Concentrated PRP for Ankle and Foot Tendon Tears

Orthagenex’s PRP procedures involve a refined methodology of creating super-concentrated platelet-rich plasma that is far superior to standard PRP solutions. The extraction and concentration process of platelets, performed under strict protocols, is designed to ensure a higher concentration of growth factors — 10 – 30x over baseline value. This super-concentrated PRP approach aims to optimize patient outcomes by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes. These protocols bring together advanced imaging guidance, meticulous sterile techniques, and the precise application of super-concentrated PRP to optimize the therapeutic benefits of the treatment.

Through this, Orthagenex has been able to offer treatments that not only tackle a wide array of orthopedic conditions with PRP alone, including foot and ankle tendon tears. This is particularly beneficial for patients seeking non-invasive treatments for joint and soft tissue injuries and conditions.

Image Guided Stem Cell Injections for Foot and Ankle Tendon Tears

At Orthagenex, advanced technologies and procedures are leveraged to address various orthopedic conditions, including the pioneering use of Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC) injections. This innovative technique centers around the precise delivery of bone marrow concentrate containing stem cells into the injured area or damaged tissue. This is achieved by using imaging guidance by MSK ultrasound and fluoroscopy, which ensures a high degree of accuracy in the procedure. The result is an enhancement of the body’s natural healing processes, stimulating the repair of damaged tissues.

Patients undergoing Bone Marrow Concentrate injections at Orthagenex benefit from non- invasive procedures that require very little downtime. This is a significant advantage over traditional surgeries, which often lead to long, painful rehabilitation periods to restore joint strength and mobility. The bone marrow concentrate injections provided at Orthagenex aim to help patients avoid these arduous recovery periods.


Finding Personalized Stem Cell Treatments For Foot And Ankle Tendon Tears

If you are looking for a more natural, non-surgical, and non-invasive treatment alternative for your injured foot or ankle tendon, regenerative medicine might be the answer you’ve been looking for. Stem cell therapy can unlock your body’s self-healing capabilities to support recovery and health.

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