Achilles Tendon Rupture
Achilles Tendon Rupture Facts
The Achilles tendon, or calcaneal tendon, is a large ropelike band of fibrous tissue in the back of the ankle that connects the powerful calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). Sometimes called the heel cord, it is the largest tendon in the human body. When the calf muscles contract, the Achilles tendon is tightened, pulling the heel. This allows you to point your foot and stand on tiptoe. It is vital to such activities as walking, running, and jumping. A complete tear through the tendon, which usually occurs about 2 inches above the heel bone, is called an Achilles tendon rupture.
Picture of the metatarsal (foot) and calcaneus (heel) bones, the plantar fascia ligament, and the Achilles tendon of the lower leg and foot
Achilles Tendon Rupture Causes
The Achilles tendon can grow weak and thin with age and lack of use. Then it becomes prone to injury or rupture. Achilles tendon rupture is more common in those with preexisting tendinitis of the Achilles tendon. Certain illnesses (such as arthritis and diabetes) and medications (such as corticosteroids and some antibiotics, including quinolones such as levofloxacin [Levaquin] and ciprofloxacin [Cipro]) can also increase the risk of rupture.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2016
Christopher C Nannini, MD
Must Read Articles Related to Achilles Tendon Rupture
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Achilles Tendon Rupture:
Achilles Tendon Rupture - Treatment
What was the treatment for your Achilles tendon rupture?
Pain and Injury Resources
- 18 Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy
- Low Back Pain? It Could Be Your SI Joint
- Garrett Richards Comeback