football helmet and football - achilles tendon rupture

If you watched the Superbowl this year, you may have caught a glimpse of Taylor Swift and witnessed a devastating Achilles tendon rupture. As Dre Greenlaw prepared to run back onto the field for another Niners defensive series with 9:26 left in the second quarter of Sunday’s 25-22 Super Bowl LVIII overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he injured his left leg. 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed after the game that Greenlaw tore his Achilles tendon. 

What is an Achilles tendon?

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is involved in walking, running, and jumping. Despite its ability to endure significant stresses from these activities, it is susceptible to injury.

What is an Achilles tendon rupture? 

An Achilles tendon rupture is a severe injury that occurs when the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone tears, making it difficult or impossible to walk or run. An Achilles tendon rupture can have serious consequences and can take a significant amount of time to heal. 

How does an Achilles tendon rupture happen?

Achilles tendon ruptures are caused by sudden movements that stress the tendon. Sports requiring sudden stops and starts and direction changes, like soccer, football, basketball, tennis, or squash, are the biggest culprits. However, tripping, missing steps, and stepping into holes can cause tears. Some medications, such as antibiotics and steroid injections, can weaken the tendon and increase the risk of a tear.

How do I treat an Achilles tendon rupture? 

An Achilles tendon rupture is a serious injury that requires prompt medical attention and a proper diagnosis from your doctor. Treatment options for an Achilles tendon rupture may be as simple as the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) or more complex and include surgery, physical therapy, and pain management. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you have ruptured your Achilles tendon.

How do I prevent a torn Achilles? 

Exercising and stretching your Achilles tendon can help prevent injury. Medical News Today outlined three exercises to help strengthen your Achilles tendon: 


People can perform this exercise by following the steps below:

  1. Stand on both feet with the legs straight.
  2. Use the uninjured leg to rise onto the tiptoes.
  3. Keeping both feet on the floor, transfer the weight across to the affected leg and lower down, using the good leg to help if necessary.
  4. Repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 15 repetitions twice a day.

If the exercise becomes too easy, a person can make it more difficult by bending the knees. Once you have mastered this, try performing the exercise on one leg at a time.

Bilateral heel drop

The set of movements for this exercise is as follows:

  1. Stand on the edge of a stable raised platform, such as the bottom step of a staircase.
  2. Carefully adjust the position of the feet so that just the front half of each foot is on the step. Moving the heels up and down should be possible without them hitting the floor.
  3. Carefully rise onto the tiptoes, then lower both heels as far as possible.
  4. Repeat 20 times.

Single heel drop

The single heel drop is similar to the bilateral heel drop but places all your weight onto one leg. You should only attempt this exercise when you are comfortable doing the bilateral heel drop and begin finding it easy.


If you have ruptured your Achilles Tendon or have pain in your feet or ankles, reach out for an appointment today. Our Top Doctors will get you back to living a pain-free life.