• Achilles tendon rupture


    Achilles tendon rupture is a complete tear of the Achilles tendon. This tendon, also known as the heel cord, is the tendon attachment of the calf muscles, from the leg and knee to the heel bone. With a rupture, there is loss of continuity between the calf muscles and the heel bone causing loss of function in the calf muscles. The calf muscles forcefully push the front of the foot down (such as when standing on toes or when pushing off with walking, running, or jumping).

    Common signs and symptoms

    Notify a physician if you have any of the following:

    • "Pop" or rip at the back of the heel at the time of injury.
    • Pain and weakness when moving the foot (especially when pushing down with the front of the foot)
    • Tenderness, swelling, warmth, and redness around the Achilles tendon.
    • Bruising at the Achilles tendon and heel after 48 hours.
    • Loss of firm fullness when pushing on the area where the tendon ruptured (a defect between the ends of the tendon where they separated from each other)


    Initial treatment consists of not walking on the affected leg, icing the area, applying a compressive elastic bandage, and elevating the injured leg above heart level. Treatment options include surgical and nonsurgical intervention. Return to sports is usually about the same with either treatment but can occur a few weeks sooner with surgery.

    RICE Principle With all acute injuries, follow the RICE principle to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation.

    R est - Walk with crutches if you cannot bear weight.
    I ce - Use an ice pack for 20 minutes every two to three hours during the first 72 hours.
    C ompression - Use an ace wrap on the ankle. Start at the bottom of the toes and wrap up to the knee.
    E levation - Keep the injured ankle above the level of your heart when sitting or lying down.

    More on common orthopaedic disorders