Achilles Tendon Tears: How Do I Know If I Tore My Achilles?

Achilles tendon tears are common injuries. Some patients have chronic pain in their Achilles tendon before it ruptures, but many patients have no pain before the accident. Achilles tendon tears occur when either pushing off or when the ankle is forcefully dorsiflexed (toes pulled up). There is a weak region of the Achilles tendon located 2-3 inches from the heel. This area is hypovascular, which means that it does not have good blood flow. It is typically in this spot where the Achilles tendon tears.


How do I know if I tore my Achilles tendon?

The orthopedic surgeons at Southwest Orthopedic Group can evaluate patients for Achilles tendon injuries.

A good physical exam by a physician will help diagnose your Achilles tendon pain. Tears in the Achilles tendon typically happen 2-3 inches above the heel bone. Often, you can feel a gap in your Achilles tendon. There is sometimes bruising and swelling in the area.

An X-ray can show fractures or calcification of the Achilles tendon.


Do I need an MRI to diagnose my Achilles pain?

Often, an MRI is ordered to confirm the diagnosis of the Achilles tendon tear. Also, the MRI can evaluate the gap between the tendon edges.

Imagine a rope that is cut in half. We, as surgeons, often want to know how close the edges of that rope are to discuss treatment options with the patient.


For information about Achilles Tendon treatment and Achilles Tendon surgery, see our subsequent blog posts.


The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) has more information about Achilles tendon tears at FootCareMD.


For more questions or to set up an evaluation, contact Dr. Stautberg’s office at 281-977-4870.

Eugene Stautberg, MD

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