A rupture of the Achilles tendon is not an uncommon trauma in sport and could be very dramatic if it happens, as the calf muscles and the connected Achilles tendon play such an crucial function. It is more likely to occur in explosive activities like tennis. The real problem is that the achilles tendon and the two muscles connected to it cross two joints (the knee and the ankle joint) and if the two joints are moving in opposite directions simultaneously, especially if suddenly (as can happen in tennis), then the likelihood of something failing is quite high. The treating of an achilles tendon rupture is a bit debatable because there are two alternatives that almost all the research shows have got virtually identical outcomes. One choice is conservative and the other is surgical. The conservative choice is commonly putting the leg in cast which holds the foot pointing downwards a little.
It will take approximately six weeks to heel up and after the cast is taken away, there needs to be a slow and gentle resumption of exercise. Physical rehabilitation is commonly used to help with that. The surgical option is to surgically stitch the two ends of the tendon back together, this is followed by a period of time in a cast which is shorter than the conservative option, and will be followed by a similar slow and steady resumption of sport. When longer term outcomes are compared the final outcome is typically about the same, however the surgical approach has the added chance of surgical or anaesthetic complications which the conservative strategy 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 individual with the rupture. There's a tendency for competitive athletes to go down the operative option for an achilles tendon rupture as it is thought that this does give a improved short term outcome and get them back to the sports field quicker.