What Athletes Should Know About Achilles Tendon Rupture

27 January 2023
 Categories: , Blog


The Achilles tendon is a really strong, tough tendon. But sometimes, even the Achilles tendon can become injured. Mild inflammation and swelling are quite common and usually dissipate on their own with conservative care. But a more serious injury to the Achilles, known as a rupture, is not nearly as easy to resolve. A good number of Achilles ruptures happen in athletes — both recreational and competitive. So, if you are an athlete, it is a good idea to know the basics about Achilles ruptures and how they are treated.

What causes an Achilles rupture?

The Achilles generally only ruptures if you make a quick, specific movement that puts a ton of strain on this tendon. Your foot may drop into a hole while running. Or, you may jump and land in just the right way to severely strain the tendon. Usually, Achilles ruptures happen after the tendon has already been inflamed and aggravated for a while. In other words, if you've had some Achilles tendinitis and have decided to train or play through it, you are at risk for a ruptured Achilles.

How do you know you've ruptured your Achilles?

The signs are unmistakable. You will have sudden, serious pain in your Achilles tendon. You will feel like your foot is floppy, you may not be able to bend your foot down, and you'll be completely unable to stand on your toes. Most people hear or feel a loud "snap" when the injury occurs.

How is a ruptured Achilles tendon treated?

If you think you've ruptured your Achilles, seek care from an orthopedic doctor right away. This injury rarely heals on its own, since tendons receive so little blood flow. If you are young, healthy, and willing to be patient, your doctor may start by trying conservative therapies, such as rest, ice, and physical therapy. However, most people end up having to have surgery to repair their Achilles. The surgical process involves making an incision down your calf, opening up the area, and suturing the torn tendon back together. After surgery, you will need to go through physical therapy to strengthen the tissues around your tendon and keep the tendon stretching and flexible.

Hopefully, you never face a ruptured Achilles as an athlete. Remember to take time off at the first sign of Achilles pain in order to reduce your risk of this injury. And if you do rupture your Achilles, seek care right away.

Contact a doctor like Dr. Mark Drakos Orthopedic Surgeon for more information.