Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. A rupture occurs when there is a tearing or separation of the tendon fibers. An Achilles heel rupture leads to loss of normal function.

  • Causes

    Achilles tendon rupture can be caused by:

    • Overuse
    • Overstretching
    • Overworking an inflamed tendon
    • Injury from an accident or fall

  • Definition

    The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. A rupture occurs when there is a tearing or separation of the tendon fibers. An Achilles heel rupture leads to loss of normal function.

    Achilles Tendon Rupture
    Achilles Tendon Rupture
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  • Diagnosis

    You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Images may be taken of the affected area. This can be done with:

    • MRI scan
    • Ultrasound
    • X-ray

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting Achilles tendon rupture, take the following steps:

    • Do warm-up exercises before an activity and cool down exercises after an activity
    • Wear proper footwear
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Rest if you feel pain during an activity
    • Change your routine, such as switch between high-impact activities and low-impact activities
    • Strengthen your calf muscle with exercises

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of getting Achilles tendon rupture include:

    • Achilles tendinopathy
    • Recent increase in activity level
    • Weak or inflexible calf muscles
    • Previous Achilles tendon rupture
    • Involvement in sports that involve running, jumping, twisting, or lunging
    • Improper footwear
    • Obesity
    • Certain medications, such as quinolone antibiotics or corticosteroids, which weaken the tendon
    • Collagen vascular diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • Popping or snapping noise when injury occurs
    • Sudden, extreme pain at the back of the heel
    • Swelling near your heel
    • Inability to push off from the ball of the foot
    • Inability to walk on the affected leg

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options may include the one or more of the following: