Achilles Tendon Rupture

(Rupture, Achilles Tendon; Severely Torn Achilles Tendon)

How to Say It: ah-KILL-ees TEN-dun RUP-choor


An Achilles tendon rupture is a tear of the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Achilles Tendon Rupture

Achilles Tendon Rupture
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The exact cause is not known. It is thought to be caused by:

  • Putting sudden stress on the muscle, such as from landing a jump, lunging, or sprinting
  • Stretching the muscle too far
  • Falling or tripping

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who:

  • Are 30 to 40 years of age, often males who play sports
  • Are over 60 years old, often women when climbing stairs
  • Play basketball or racket sports

Some other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Recent changes in activity
  • Poor footwear
  • Alignment problems
  • Calf muscles that are weak or are not flexible
  • Prior rupture
  • Obesity
  • Certain medicines, such as fluoroquinolones


Problems may be:

  • Sudden pain at the back of the heel
  • A popping or snapping noise
  • Swelling between the heel and calf
  • Problems walking
  • Problems pushing off from the ball of the foot


You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done. It will focus on the foot. This may be enough to suspect a rupture.

Images may be taken to confirm the rupture. This can be done with:


Treatment depends on the amount of damage and the person's health. Options are:

Supportive Care

A minor rupture in someone who is less active or not well enough for surgery may be treated with:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
  • Medicines to ease pain and swelling
  • Crutches or a walker to keep weight off of the leg
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles


Surgery may be done to sew the tendon back together. This lowers the risk of it rupturing again.


There are no known guidelines to prevent an Achilles tendon rupture.


American Podiatric Medical Association
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Canadian Physiotherapy Association


Achilles tendon rupture. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts website. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020.
Achilles tendon rupture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 8, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Achilles tendon rupture. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2012. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Uquillas CA, Guss MS, et al. Everything Achilles: Knowledge Update and Current Concepts in Management: AAOS Exhibit Selection. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2015 Jul 15;97(14):1187-1195.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 3/10/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.