Visitor Question

Torn Achilles tendon misdiagnosed…

Submitted By: Max (Los Angeles)

On August 31st I injured my Achilles tendon playing basketball. I believed I had torn it. I am a 21 year old, male, asian american student who (prior to the injury) engaged in athletic activity on a daily basis.

Upon entering the USC Student Health Center no more than 5 days after my injury, the residing physician took an x-ray and diagnosed me with an Achilles bruise/contusion, with a recovery window being from possibly the next morning to 4 weeks. His diagnostic included an improperly administered Thompson-calf test, completely ruling out the possibility of a torn Achilles as I had originally thought.

After 4 weeks of immobility, I revisited the doctor and he gave me the same diagnosis, this time referring me to physical therapy with “heel pain.”

On Wednesday October 16th, I took matters into my own hands and contacted USC’s orthopedic hospital, where I received an MRI. The following morning, I was told I had actually been dealing with a torn Achilles for the last 6 weeks. I had Surgery on October 18th.

What can I do about the first doctor completely missing the tear, and continuing to give me inadequate treatment for many weeks? This resulted in me suffering a lot of pain and being immobile for longer than was necessary. What should be done?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Max,

From the facts you present you may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim. Your primary physician probably should have diagnosed your torn Achilles Tendon during the Thompson Calf Test. The Thompson Calf Test is rather straightforward. While lying on the table if your Achilles Tendon was torn you should not have been able to move your foot. The doctor should have noticed that.

Six weeks of unnecessary pain and suffering is certainly worth some monetary value. The primary question is, how much? The secondary questions is the value of your pain and suffering vs. the amount of time and effort an attorney would have to put in to pursue a malpractice case.

Regardless of the apparent clear misdiagnosis, it’s unlikely the doctor or his insurance company will admit to malpractice. For the doctor, admitting to medical malpractice can result in damage to his reputation and higher malpractice insurance premiums.

Your best bet would be to gather your medical records and seek out several personal injury attorneys in your area. Search for medical malpractice attorneys with experience with cases similar to your own.

Learn more here: Claims & Lawsuits for Wrong Diagnosis

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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