Tendon Rupture

Table of contents:

Tendon Rupture
Tendon Rupture
Video: Tendon Rupture
Video: Achilles Tendon Rupture and Repair 2023, February

Tendon tear

A tendon rupture is either a complete or - less often - a partial interruption of the tendons. Overall, these are frequent injuries among athletes. The risk of tearing a tendon increases from the age of 30, as the elasticity of the tendons decreases with age. This makes them more prone to overstretching and tearing.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • What are the tasks of tendons?
  • What are the causes of a tendon tear?
  • ">What are the symptoms?
  • ">
  • How is the diagnosis made?
  • How is the treatment carried out?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

What are the tasks of tendons?

Tendons are the connection points between muscles and bones. They consist of connective tissue fibers and are used to transfer muscle strength to the bones: When moving, the muscle contracts (contraction). This creates a pull on the tendon, which in turn transmits the pull to the bone. This is the only way to move the bone. In heavily used parts of the body, the tendons are surrounded by a protective covering of connective tissue, the so-called tendon sheath. More on the topic: tendons and ligaments

Diseases of the tendons are called tendinopathies.

What are the causes of a tendon tear?

Injuries to the tendons are more common with age. The reason is age-related degeneration of the tendon tissue, which means that tendons can more easily overstretch or tear. The most frequently affected tendons are heavily used, such as the Achilles tendon.

Basically, a tendon tear can occur in different ways:

  • Traumatic (accident-related) tendon rupture: Often caused by indirect force, e.g. unforeseen impact of a ball on the tip of the extended finger (the finger is forcibly bent and the extensor tendon over the wrist joint tears); Another possible cause is direct violence, such as a blow or kick to the Achilles tendon. Jerky movements, twisting and excessive loads can also lead to tendon ruptures. The risk of this is higher in certain sports such as running, tennis, football and skiing, as the Achilles tendon is particularly stressed. More on the topic: Achilles tendon rupture
  • Creeping traumatic tendon tear: This type of tendon tear is also known as a late tear and is the result of another injury that has occurred previously. For example, a broken bone that does not heal ideally can lead to permanent irritation of the tendon. If the damage becomes too great, the tendon can eventually tear. An example is a tear in the long extensor tendon of the thumb a few weeks or months after a broken spoke in the wrist area. This type of tendon tears is also common in the knee joint area.
  • Pathological tendon tear ("spontaneous tear"): If the tendon is damaged due to a previous illness, it can tear even under normal stress. For example, certain rheumatic diseases or connective tissue diseases lead to chronic tissue damage and thus increase the risk of tendon injuries. The elasticity of the tendons also decreases with age, and the risk of spontaneous tears increases.

In order to prevent tearing of the eye during sport, warm-up exercises, appropriate equipment and elastic bandages or tape bandages (bandages made from adhesive plaster tape) to prevent undesirable and unnatural movements are recommended. More on the topic: healthy exercise

What are the symptoms?

A total tendon tear of a large tendon (e.g. Achilles tendon) is often perceived by those affected as a loud popping noise, usually in connection with a sudden, very strong stabbing pain. The ability to move is noticeably impaired. In addition, there is usually a significant swelling or bruise.

If the tendon is partially torn, the initial pain subsides relatively quickly. The impairment of mobility is less pronounced than with a total crack. Often only a slight bump can be seen externally.

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis is based on a detailed anamnesis and physical examination (description of how the accident happened and the symptoms, assessment of the restricted mobility, etc.). For certain types of vision, there are special function tests that the doctor carries out. In the case of an incomplete crack, if there is no or only a minor functional failure, the diagnosis is not always easy to make. The injury can be further assessed and the diagnosis confirmed by means of an ultrasound or X-ray examination and, in certain cases, magnetic resonance imaging.

How is the treatment carried out?

Tendon tears should immediately after the injury to the PECH be treated rule (P housing insert, cooling envelopes E is, C ompression with elastic bandage (pressure dressing), H ochlagerung). More on the topic: sports injuries

Anti-inflammatory pain relievers can relieve the discomfort. If the tendon is ruptured and the tendon ends are close together, surgery is not mandatory, as these can grow together on their own.

In the case of more complicated injuries, the two tendon ends are sutured together as part of an operation. The affected area is then fixed with a splint or plaster cast for four to six weeks. In addition, anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed. Physiotherapy can be started relatively quickly after the operation in order to promote the healing process. The tendon must not be fully loaded for a period of up to four months, the training should only be increased slowly.

If the tendons can no longer be sutured together (e.g. if the tissue is damaged due to previous illnesses), the tendon can be replaced under certain circumstances (tendon plastic surgery). The body's own tendon tissue from another part of the body or artificial material can be used for this.

Whom can I ask?

If you suspect a tendon rupture, you can contact the following offices:

  • Rescue in an acute emergency (emergency number 144)
  • the nearest accident ambulance
  • General practitioner
  • Specialist in trauma surgery
  • Sports physician

How are the costs going to be covered?

The e-card is your personal key to the benefits of the statutory health insurance. All necessary and appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures are taken over by your responsible social insurance agency. A deductible or contribution to costs may apply for certain services. You can obtain detailed information from your social security agency. Further information can also be found at:

  • Right to treatment
  • Visit to the doctor: costs and deductibles
  • What does the hospital stay cost?
  • Prescription fee: This is how drug costs are covered
  • Rehabilitation & cure
  • Medical aids & aids
  • Health Professions AZ

and via the online guide to reimbursement of social insurance costs.

Popular by topic