A rupture of the Achilles tendon is not an uncommon trauma in sports activity and is very dramatic when it occurs, because the calf muscles and the connected Achilles tendon play such an necessary function. It is more likely to happen in explosive activities such as tennis. The real issue is that the achilles tendon and the two muscles connected to it cross two joints (the knee as well as the ankle) and if both joints are moving in opposite directions simultaneously, particularly if abruptly (as might happen in tennis), then the potential for something failing is pretty high.
The management of an achilles tendon rupture is a bit debatable as there are two options that almost all the published research shows have quite similar outcomes. One option is conservative and the other is operative. The conservative option is typically placing the lower limb in cast that holds the foot pointing downwards slightly. It will take approximately six weeks to get better and after the cast is removed, there ought to be a slow and gentle resumption of exercise. Physical rehabilitation is often used to assist with that. The surgical choice is to surgically sew the two edges of the tendon together again, this is followed by a period in a cast that is shorter compared to the conservative choice, and will be followed by a similar slow and steady return to sport. If longer term results are evaluated the final outcome is generally about the same, however the surgical method has the added risk of surgical or anaesthetic complications that the conservative strategy doesn't have. The decision as to which method is better will have to be one based mostly on the experiences of the surgeon and the preferences of the individual with the rupture. There is a trend for competitive athletes who get an achilles tendon rupture to go on the operative pathway because it is thought that this will give a improved short term outcome and get them back to the sports field quicker.