Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Cause
The largest tendon in our body is the Achilles tendon or heel cord. A band of thick and fibrous tissue, it attaches the calf muscles of your leg to the heel bone, and when the calf muscles contract (or are being used), it pulls on the heel and points your foot or allows you to stand on your toes. Without it, you couldn’t walk, run, or jump properly. As you can imagine, sports activities like track, racquet sports, basketball, and soccer, that involve running, jumping, quick stops and starts, are more apt to be activities associated with Achilles tendon ruptures. That’s why a rupture, or complete tear of the tendon can be catastrophic to athletes and non-athletes alike.
The most common rupture (complete tear being more common than a partial tear) occurs ~2 inches above the heel, and usually is caused by thinning and weakness associated with aging and is more common in those with a history of tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon). The aging week-end warrior is a ripe target for such a rupture when they try to turn on the speed or attempt a quick stop, start, or change in direction, especially when the knee is straight, and the muscle-tendon complex is on stretch.