Dealing with a Torn Achilles Tendon

What is a torn Achilles tendon?

An Achilles tendon rupture, better known as a torn Achilles tendon, is a very common injury, but requires attention from a doctor. It occurs when the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone is severed or torn. Men are seven times more likely to tear their Achilles tendon than women, and 75% of the time, the injury occurs from playing a sport or being active.

Some antibiotics or cortisone injections actually increase the likelihood of injuring your Achilles tendon. Flouroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin, which are used mostly for respiratory urinary tract, and other bacterial infections, increase your chances of tearing a tendon or getting tendinitis. These medications disrupt certain cells in your body from replicating because they are fighting an infection. As a result, your tendons have a harder time repairing themselves and can swell or tear much more easily while you are exercising.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, so if you injure it, it is very important that you see a doctor. Two of our surgeons, Dr. Richard Jackson and Dr. Steven Herbst, perform Achilles tendon operations.


The Achilles tendon rupture is a traumatic injury and causes sudden pain behind the ankle. So you will know something is wrong! Patients often describe hearing or feeling a “pop” or “snap” sensation in their ankle or calf. Others say it feels like they have been kicked in the heel.

You may have difficulty pointing your toes downward, since the Achilles tendon pulls the foot. Swelling and bruising around the ankle or calf is also likely.

There are other Achilles tendon injuries that aren’t as serious as a ruptured Achilles tendon. If your pain isn’t as serious, you may have Achilles tendinitis or Achilles tendinosis.

Achilles tendinitis is swelling and tenderness of the tendon. This is mostly a result of overuse and can be easily treated.

Achilles tendinosis is a degenerative process where the tendon begins to break down and get small tears. This is mostly as a result of overuse, calf tightness, or a heel bone spur.

See the differences below:

Diagnosis: Thompson Test

To find out if you have a torn Achilles tendon, your doctor will likely perform the Thompson test.

You can also try this at home:

If your Achilles tendon is fine, your toes will point downward, as the Achilles tendon pulls the foot.

If your Achilles tendon is injured, your foot will not move.



More minor Achilles tendon injuries will not usually require surgery. However, these injuries can take a long time to heal, so be patient. In order to protect and speed up the healing process, you should:


If your injury is severe, you may need to undergo surgery to repair your Achilles tendon. However, you will likely return to your favorite activity or sport faster than if you went the non-surgical route! Surgery may also make you less likely to re-rupture your Achilles tendon. There are always surgical risks to any surgery, but the procedure is highly successful.

If you have further questions, please contact us!

You Might Also Enjoy...

Caring for Arthritis in this 2020 Winter Season

The winter is upon us and we're bundled up inside this year more than ever before. Caring for arthritis in 2020 has some extra challenges. But here are some ways to keep your joints healthy this winter.

MCJR Launches Pre-Op Program

Midwest Medical Services: Pre-Op Program Preoperative care is a vital piece of preparing for any joint replacement surgery. At MCJR, we do our best to understand your health history and mitigate any risks and complications that may arise. We also...

Patient Story: Meet Dick

Indianapolis resident Dick Lutin is a patient of Dr. Carter's who underwent hip replacement surgery in August 2018. Dick loves being outdoors and doing his favorite hobby -- fossil hunting -- with his two daughters. When he suffered an injury to...

Treating Meniscus Tears

One of the most common causes of knee pain has nothing to do with your bones and everything to do with the cartilage around your knees. Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries and they can happen at any...

Patient Story: Meet Patrice

Meet Patrice Goodwin, one of our dear patients who is a month shy of her two-year anniversary from getting a left total knee replacement – and she’s back to waterskiing!