Achilles tendon rupture

Tear of the Achilles tendon

A common and painful tear of the ankle tendon

What is a ruptured Achilles tendon?

Your Achilles tendon connects your heel bone to your calf muscles. A complete tear across the tendon is called a rupture.

It can often happen during sport or exercise that involves pushing off the ground sharply, like basketball, gymnastics, tennis, squash or badminton, especially in less conditioned athletes. It's a serious and painful injury which needs treatment.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture? icon plus

    At the time of your injury, you'll usually feel a sudden and severe pain in the back of your ankle. There may also be a snapping or popping sound. Most people think they've been hit on the back of their ankle.

    You might find the pain soon settles down into a dull ache. You may also have difficulty pointing your toes downward or standing on tip toes and experience a lack of control in your foot movements.
  • Diagnosing an Achilles tendon rupture icon plus

    After a suspected Achilles tendon rupture, your consultant will take a full history of what happened, examine you fully and order an ultrasound scan or an MRI scan. You may also require an X-ray or blood tests if other conditions are suspected.
  • Potential treatments for a ruptured Achilles icon plus

    There are two main options for managing an Achilles tendon rupture, which have similar healing times and will be discussed in full with your consultant.

    The first is to immobilise the tendon in a plaster cast, brace or protective boot, most likely with your toes pointed down. You'll have to use crutches and keep the weight off it for at least four weeks. It will usually take 10-12 weeks to heal fully.

    The second is a surgical procedure to reattach the separated tendon ends. It will then need rest in a plaster or a protective boot as it heals. A surgical repair is associated with a slightly lower chance of re-rupture than non-operative management.

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From complex ankle surgery to diagnostic tests and scans of the foot, we provide exceptional orthopaedic care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request a foot and ankle appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced foot and ankle consultants. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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