Achilles Tendon Rupture

What is it?

When the Achilles tendon ruptures. it gets completely torn by a sudden movement of the ankle/leg. It usually occurs in a tendon that is worn out and has weakened over time and then suddenly tears when there is enough force. It typically occurs during recreational sports that involve running, jumping, and pivoting, such as basketball, soccer or racquet sports. It is most often seen in men in their 30s and 40s. Some medications and medical problems can predispose to having an Achilles rupture.

What symptoms does it cause?

Often the individual will feel or hear a pop or a snap when the injury occurs. There is immediate swelling and severe pain in the back of the heel, below the calf where it ruptures. Pain is usually severe enough that it is difficult or impossible to walk or take a step. The individual will not be able to push off or go on their toes.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by physical examination. An ultrasound or MRI can be done to confirm the diagnosis if necessary.

How is it treated?

Treatment is made on a case-by case basis. Some individuals do better with surgery, whereas others may do well without surgery. Treatment choice depends on age, activity level, and medical conditions. It is best determined via discussion with your doctor.