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Achilles Tendon Disorder or Rupture

Achilles tendon rupture

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. In an Achilles tendon rupture, the tendon is completely torn, which causes pain and sudden loss of strength and movement.

An Achilles rupture is most often caused by a sudden, forceful motion that stresses the calf muscle. This can happen during an intense athletic activity or even during simple running or jumping. Middle-aged adults are especially likely to get this kind of injury.

A rupture is usually treated with surgery. Sometimes it may be treated with a cast, splint, brace, or other device that keeps the lower leg from moving.

  • Symptoms

    Achilles Tendon Rupture

    Ruptured Achilles tendon

    The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. In an Achilles tendon rupture, the tendon is completely torn.

  • Diagnosis

    How is an Achilles tendon rupture diagnosed?

    Most doctors diagnose an Achilles tendon problem such as a rupture by asking questions about your past health and doing a physical exam. This includes checking for tenderness, watching how you walk and stand, and comparing the range of motion of your two legs.

    Other tests may be done to clarify a diagnosis or to prepare for surgery. These tests include:

    • Ultrasound. It may be used to see if there is a rupture of the tendon or signs of tendinopathy.
    • X-rays, to check the heel bone.
    • MRI scan to check the tendon for signs of tendinopathy or a tendon rupture. An MRI is also used to evaluate the heel bone.
  • Treatment

    How is an Achilles tendon rupture diagnosed?

    Most doctors diagnose an Achilles tendon problem such as a rupture by asking questions about your past health and doing a physical exam. This includes checking for tenderness, watching how you walk and stand, and comparing the range of motion of your two legs.

    Other tests may be done to clarify a diagnosis or to prepare for surgery. These tests include:

    • Ultrasound. It may be used to see if there is a rupture of the tendon or signs of tendinopathy.
    • X-rays, to check the heel bone.
    • MRI scan to check the tendon for signs of tendinopathy or a tendon rupture. An MRI is also used to evaluate the heel bone.

    Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.