Achilles Tendon Rupture (Tear)

Feet | Orthopaedics | Achilles Tendon Rupture (Tear) (Disease)


Achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body, a tough sinew that attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone (calcaneus). The name comes from the Greek hero Achilles who was invulnerable to injury except for his heel, this being his weakness.

Causes and Risk factors

Rupture can occur while performing actions requiring explosive acceleration, such as pushing off or jumping. The injury can happen in these following situations: making a forceful push-off with the foot while the knee is straightened by the powerful thigh muscles. One example might be starting a foot race or jumping. Suddenly tripping or stumbling can cause the foot to thrust in front to break a fall, forcefully overstretching the tendon. Falling from a significant height or abruptly step into a hole or off of a curb can also cause a rupture.

Achilles tendon rupture is more common in those with preexisting tendinitis of the Achilles tendon. Certain illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes and medications like corticosteroids and some antibiotics can also increase the risk of rupture. Most cases of Achilles tendon rupture are traumatic sports injuries.

Achilles tendon rupture symptoms and signs are: a sudden and severe pain may be felt at the back of the ankle or calf; the sound of a loud pop or snap may be reported; a gap or depression may be felt and seen in the tendon about 2 inches above the heel bone; initial pain, swelling, and stiffness may be followed by bruising and weakness; the pain may decrease quickly, and smaller tendons may retain the ability to point the toes. Standing on tiptoe and pushing off when walking will be impossible.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment options for an Achilles tendon rupture include surgical and non-surgical approaches. Among the medical profession opinions are divided what is to be preferred. ...