Achilles Tendon Rupture



The exact cause is not known. It is thought to be caused by:

  • Putting sudden stress on the muscle, such as from landing a jump, lunging, or sprinting
  • Stretching the muscle too far
  • Falling or tripping

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who:

  • Are 30 to 40 years of age, often males who play sports
  • Are over 60 years old, often women when climbing stairs
  • Play basketball or racket sports

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Recent changes in activity
  • Poor footwear
  • Alignment problems
  • Calf muscles that are weak or are not flexible
  • Prior rupture
  • Obesity
  • Taking certain medicines, such as fluoroquinolones



Problems may be:

  • Sudden pain at the back of the heel
  • A popping or snapping noise
  • Swelling between the heel and calf
  • Problems walking
  • Problems pushing off from the ball of the foot


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the foot. This may be enough to suspect a rupture.

Pictures of the foot may be taken. This can be done with:

  • X-rays
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound



Treatment depends on the amount of damage. Options are:

Supportive Care

A minor rupture may be treated with:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
  • Medicines to ease pain and swelling
  • Crutches or a walker to keep weight off of the leg
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles


Surgery may be done to sew the tendon back together. This lowers the risk of it rupturing again.


There are no known guidelines to prevent an Achilles tendon rupture.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.