A tear of the Achilles tendon is not an uncommon problem in sports activity and is very dramatic when it happens, as the calf muscles and the connected Achilles tendon play such an important function. It is more likely to occur in explosive activities such as tennis. The real issue is that the achilles tendon and the two muscles attached to it cross two joints (the knee and the ankle joint) and if both the joints are moving in contrary directions simultaneously, particularly if suddenly (as can happen in tennis), then the chance of something failing is fairly high. The management of an achilles tendon rupture is a little debatable with there being two alternatives that almost all the research shows have got very similar outcomes. One option is conservative and the other is operative. The conservative option for an Achilles tendon rupture is usually placing the leg in cast that holds the foot pointing downwards a little.
Usually it takes approximately six weeks to heel up and after the cast is taken away, there ought to be a slow and gentle resumption of physical activity. Physical therapy is often used to assist with that. The surgical option is to surgically sew the two ends of the tendon together again, this is followed by a period in a cast that is shorter than the conservative option, and will be followed by a similar steady and slow return to activity. If longer term results are evaluated the final outcome is typically about the same, however the operative procedure has the additional potential for surgical or anaesthetic complications which the conservative method does not have. The decision as to which approach is best will have to be one based mostly on the experiences of the doctor and the choices of the person with the rupture. There's a trend for competitive athletes to go along the surgical pathway for an Achilles tendon rupture since it is considered that this may give a improved short term outcome and get them back to the sports field faster.