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Achilles Tendon Rupture

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


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.

Achilles Tendon Rupture.

Achilles Tendon Rupturehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=74497449si55551636_105433_1.jpgsi55551636_105433_1.jpgNULLjpgAchilles Tendon RuptureNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551636_105433_1.jpgNULL39NULL2008-12-09261400Copyright © 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

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
  • Taking 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


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
Last Updated:

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.