An Achilles tendon rupture affects the back of the lower leg. It mainly affects patients who play recreational sports, but it can happen to anyone.

The Achilles tendon consists of a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of the calf to the heel bone. If you overstretch the Achilles tendon, it can tear completely or just partially.

If the Achilles tendon ruptures, you may hear a pop, followed by a sharp pain in the back of the ankle and lower leg that will likely affect the ability to walk properly. Surgeons often need to perform surgery to repair the rupture. For many patients however, nonsurgical treatment can work just as well.

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Rupture

Although it’s possible to show no symptoms with an Achilles tendon rupture, most people experience:

  • The feeling of having been kicked in the calf
  • Severe pain and swelling of the heel
  • An inability to bend the foot downward
  • An inability to stand on the toes
  • A popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs

Seek medical advice immediately if you hear a pop in the heel, especially if you find walking difficult.

Causes of an Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon helps you point the foot downward, rise on the toes and push off the foot as you walk. You rely on it every time you walk and move your foot.

A Rupture usually occurs in the section of the tendon situated 2 1/2 inches from the point where it attaches to the heel bone. This section might rupture due to poor blood flow which also can impair its ability to heal.

A sudden increase in the stress on the Achilles tendon often causes ruptures. Common examples include:

  • Increasing the intensity of exercise
  • Falling injuries
  • Stepping into a hole