Achilles Tendon Rupture Symptoms

Achilles tendon rupture symptoms are often very similar from patient to patient.

As you may recall from an earlier post, the Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body. It is located at the back of your leg and connects your calf muscles to your heel bone (calcaneus). This tendon is responsible for pointing your toes down, a motion critical in walking, running and jumping. Ruptures of the Achilles tendon are common and often cause significant pain and disability.

When someone tears their Achilles tendon or describes their Achilles tendon rupture symptoms, the history is almost always exactly the same. Inevitably, the injured person is either doing an activity that they frequently do – playing a sport, running or jumping – or falls from a height, landing onto their foot. They almost always feel or hear a loud and painful “snap” coming from the area of their Achilles tendon. Very frequently they describe “getting” struck in the back of the leg by something and someone. In fact, they almost always describe getting up and looking behind them, expecting to see someone who may have kicked or hit them.

In addition to these symptoms, it is almost impossible for the injured person to initially walk on their injured leg. So, they are rarely able to continue with their activity. Over the next several hours and days, mild to moderate swelling localized to the back of the ankle sets in. This is almost always accompanied by “black and blue” skin in this same area.

The pain usually subsides within a couple of days and people often can even walk on the injured leg, although getting up on their toes is difficult, if not impossible. Finally, as the swelling goes down, a noticeable difference in the shape and appearance of the back of the ankle becomes evident and for those willing to probe around, a palpable gap will often be noted in the usually firm Achilles tendon.

The Common Achilles Tendon Rupture Symptoms

  1. Painful “Pop” in back of the ankle
  2. Feeling of being hit in Achilles Tendon
  3. Difficulty weight bearing on injured leg
  4. Inability to continue activity
  5. Delayed swelling and “black and blue” skin in back of the ankle
  6. Deformity

Early treatment for Achilles tendon ruptures is best. So If you have had these symptoms, it is important that you get evaluated quickly by your Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon.


Jeffrey H. Berg, M.D.

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