Achilles Tendon Rupture
(Rupture, Achilles Tendon; Severely Torn Achilles Tendon)
An Achilles tendon rupture is a tear of the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
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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
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
Other things that may raise the risk are:
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
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the foot. This may be enough to suspect a rupture.
Pictures of the foot may be taken. This can be done with:
Treatment depends on the amount of damage. Options are:
There are no known guidelines to prevent an Achilles tendon rupture.
- Achilles tendon rupture. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/achilles-tendon-rupture.
- Achilles tendon rupture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/achilles-tendon-rupture.
- Achilles tendon rupture. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/achilles-tendon-rupture-tear-video.
- Dai W, Leng X, et al. Rehabilitation regimen for non-surgical treatment of Achilles tendon rupture: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. J Sci Med Sport 2021;24(6):536-543. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2020.12.005.
- Reito A, Mattila V, et al. Operative vs Nonoperative Treatment of Achilles Tendon Ruptures Using Early Functional Rehabilitation: Critical Analysis of Evidence. Foot Ankle Internat 2022;43(7):887-890. doi:10.1177/10711007221083691.
- Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
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