Published: Nov. 11, 2010
Updated: Dec. 29, 2010
The Achilles tendon is a large band of fibrous tissue in the back of the ankle that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus).
Your Achilles tendon helps you point your foot downward, rise on your toes, and push off your foot as you walk.
An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete or partial tear of the Achilles tendon.
Ruptures are commonly caused by a sudden increase in the amount of stress on your Achilles tendon. Your tendon can be overextended and injured from:
Ruptures typically occur in areas of the tendon that receive less blood flow. This may weaken that part of the tendon, which also tends to degenerate with age.
Achilles tendon ruptures are most commonly seen in men. The injury is often linked to recreational activities and sports, but can also occur from other traumatic injuries.
Achilles tendon rupture is characterized by:
In cases of partial rupture, foot mobility may only be slightly affected, but similar symptoms of pain, swelling, and bruising may exist.
A physical examination by your doctor will help diagnose the injury and rule out underlying conditions or fracture.
Ultrasound can also be used to determine if the tendon has been ruptured.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is sometimes used to help determine if the injury is a full or partial rupture.
Achilles tendon rupture is repaired by:
Watch an educational video about treatment for Achilles tendon injury.