Achilles Tendon Rupture - Symptoms and Signs

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What are Achilles tendon rupture symptoms and signs?

Background history

  • Patients with an Achilles tendon rupture will often complain of a sudden snap in the back of the leg. The pain is often intense.
  • With a complete rupture, the individual will only be ambulate with a limp. Most people will not be able to climb stairs, run, or stand on their toes.
  • Swelling around the calf may occur.
  • Patients may often have had a sudden increase in exercise or intensity of activity.
  • Some patients may have had recent corticosteroid injections or use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
  • Some athletes may have had a prior injury to the tendon.

Physical exam

  • When Achilles tendon injury is suspected, the entire lower lag is examined for swelling, bruising, and tenderness. If there is a full rupture, a gap in the tendon may be noted.
  • Patients will not be able to stand on the toes if there is a complete Achilles tendon rupture.
  • Several tests can be performed to look for Achilles tendon rupture. One of the most widely used tests is called the Thompson test. The patient is asked to lie down on the stomach and the examiner squeezes the calf area. In normal people, this leads to flexion of the foot. With Achilles tendon injury, this movement is not seen.
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Comment from: Benji, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 13

While performing my regular routine at the gym, I extended my left leg rearward during a kick exercise. I suddenly heard a loud crack and immediately felt an acute pain in the left calf. After a few minutes, and applying ice, the pain subsided and I could limp from there to the airport to catch my plane home where I could be treated (surgery) for the Achilles tendon rupture.

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Comment from: 4everfit, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

I"m a 44 year old mother of two. I have been active all my life. This day I was playing basketball with the big boys as usual, then I felt like someone had kicked me in the back of the leg but there wasn"t anyone behind me. I quit the game, sat down and it was so much pain I cried. I thought it was a sprain ankle but it wasn"t, it was Achilles tendon rupture. It has been a week and I cannot wait to recover.

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