A tear of the Achilles tendon is not an uncommon problem in sport and is quite dramatic if it happens, since the calf muscles and the attached Achilles tendon play such an necessary function. It is more likely to happen in explosive activities like tennis. The real problem is that the achilles tendon and the two muscles attached to it cross two joints (the knee as well as the ankle joint) and if both the joints are moving in contrary directions simultaneously, especially if suddenly (as can happen in tennis), then the chance of something failing is pretty high.
The treating of an achilles tendon rupture is a little debatable because there are two alternatives that the majority the research shows have much the same outcomes. One option is conservative and the other is surgical. The conservative option is usually putting the lower limb in cast that supports the foot pointing downwards a little. Normally it takes approximately six weeks to get better and after the cast is taken away, there should be a slow and gentle return to exercise. Physiotherapy is usually used to help with this. The surgical option is to surgically sew the two ends of the tendon back together, this is followed by a period of time in a cast that is shorter compared to the conservative choice, and is followed by a similar slow and steady resumption of sport. When longer term outcomes are evaluated the final result is usually about the same, but the surgical procedure has the additional potential for surgical or anaesthetic complications which the conservative method does not have. The choice as to which method is better is going to have to be one based on the experiences of the doctor and the choices of the individual with the rupture. There's a trend for competitive athletes to go on the operative pathway as it is considered that this may give a improved short term outcome and get the athlete back to the sports field more rapidly.