Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Achilles Tendon Tears

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Nov 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
Get the full details
Topic Resources

What is an Achilles tendon tear?

A tendon is a thick rope of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone.

The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. An Achilles tendon tear is a rip in the tendon.

  • The Achilles tendon can be partially or completely torn

  • It usually tears from running or jumping

  • Doctors can usually tell you have an Achilles tendon tear by examining you

  • You may need surgery

What causes Achilles tendon tears?

Tendons can tear when:

  • They are stretched too far

  • You contract the muscle they're attached to really hard

Achilles tendon tears happen when your foot is pushed up hard, such as when you:

  • Jump hard

  • Land from a jump

  • Run hard

Tears often happen while doing sports, especially when middle-aged people start exercising too hard too quickly.

What are the symptoms of an Achilles tendon tear?

A tear in the Achilles tendon causes the following symptoms:

  • It feels like you’ve been kicked behind the ankle

  • It’s hard to walk

  • Your calf hurts a lot and may be swollen or bruised

How do doctors diagnose an Achilles tendon tear?

How do doctors treat an Achilles tendon tear?

For a partial tear (and some complete tears), you'll wear an ankle splint or a removable boot for 4 weeks.

If your tendon is torn completely or doesn't heal with a splint or boot, you may need surgery.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz! 
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
TOP