Just mention Achilles tendon to a runner or a tennis player and you’ll see him or her squirm. The Achilles tendon attaches the ankle to the calf muscles and is critical for the push-off motion in walking, running and jumping. A sudden increase in activity, overuse of the lower leg muscles, or a direct blow or injury to the lower leg or foot can damage this tendon.
Achilles tendon tears or ruptures are fairly common in middle-aged males, particularly those involved in sports such as basketball and racquet sports. When the tendon tears or ruptures, you generally feel a “pop,” as if you were hit in the back of the leg and can’t stand on your toes. People who don’t stretch their calves much, who have chronic Achilles pain or who have taken steroids (particularly injections for tendonitis and bursitis) are more susceptible to rupture.
Once injured, the Achilles tendon can take a long time to heal. It can take even longer if you don’t give the injury adequate healing time before returning to your activities.