Torn Achilles/ Achilles Tendon Rupture

By Matt Paulus, MS, ATC, Site Coordinator

Torn Achilles or Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon present in the body, and spans from the heel to the middle of the lower leg. Its function is to attach the calf muscle, which is comprised of the two heads of the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle, to the heel bone called the calcaneus.

Achilles Tendon

Achilles Tendon

These structures combine to allow for the ankle to perform the movement of plantar flexion, or pointing your foot away from you. Plantar flexion is involved in standing on your tiptoes, pushing off to run, or landing from a jump.

Despite the size and strength of the Achilles tendon, it is prone to injury due to the high stress that is placed on the tendon because of its inherent function. Certain conditions can increase a person’s risk of serious injury. The effect of aging can weaken the tendon, as well as chronic tendinopathy from disuse or poor gastroc-soleus muscle length. A torn Achilles tendon is an injury that can result from a weakened state, and can be a partial or full tear (most common).

Typical mechanisms of injury include a sudden change of direction, requiring a push off, or landing from a jump. In this condition, the ankle is forced into dorsiflexion, resulting in high-tensile forces resulting in the tendon failing. Common signs and symptoms experienced involve a sudden onset of severe pain (feeling of being kicked in the back of the leg), an audible “pop”, swelling/bruising, and severe weakness in the ankle. Seeking medical advice immediately is important, as early intervention typically improves the outcome.

Contact JOI today if you suspect having this injury.  To learn more:

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