Signs of an Achilles Tendon Rupture

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, starting in the back of the heel, connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon helps you walk, run, jump, point your foot downward, and rise on your toes. Overstressing it however, can cause injury.

If you overstretch your Achilles tendon, it can rupture partially or completely. If this happens, you may hear a pop, followed by immediate sharp pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg. This ends up affecting your ability to walk properly. This is different than Achilles tendonitis, where irritation and inflammation on the back of the ankle cause pain and swelling, even though it does involve tiny tears. The difference tends to come in the level of severity. Commonly, Achilles tendonitis can be treated at home, whereas a rupture usually requires surgery.


It is possible to not have any signs or symptoms with an Achilles tendon rupture, but most people have:

  • A popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs
  • Pain and swelling near the heel
  • The inability to stand on the toes of the injured leg
  • The inability to bend the foot downward


Ruptures often occur by a sudden increase in the stress of your tendon. Examples include falling from a height or increasing the intensity of a workout. These injuries tend to happen when in people who do things where they quickly speed up, slow down, or pivot.

Risk Factors

  • Age: The Achilles tendon becomes less flexible as we age.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts more strain on the tendon.
  • Sports: Occur more often in sports that involve running, jumping, or sudden starts and stops.
  • Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics increase the risk of Achilles tendon rupture.

Many of us don’t give our feet the attention they deserve. It’s important to take care of your feet and to keep an eye out for anything that looks or feels unusual. Always wear comfortable, supportive shoes, and contact the experts at American Foot & Leg Specialists with any questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment.