Achilles Tendon Rupture

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

An Achilles tendon rupture is when there is a partial or complete tear of the tendon. Your Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle in your lower leg to your heel bone. Your Achilles tendon allows you to point your foot down and to rise on your toes. This allows you to push your foot toward the ground, such as when you walk, run, or jump.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • Your Achilles tendon may rupture again. If your Achilles tendon ruptures, you may get an infection or a tear in your skin. If you have surgery, you may develop scars, skin problems, or numbness in your ankle or foot.

  • Without treatment, you may always have trouble walking or moving your foot. One or more of your bones may break. The nerves in your leg may be injured. This may cause leg numbness, tingling, or burning.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicine:

  • Blood thinners: This medicine helps prevent clots from forming in the blood. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. Use an electric razor and soft toothbrush to help prevent bleeding.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

Tests:

Your caregiver may use imaging tests to help plan your surgery.

  • X-ray: X-ray pictures will help your caregiver see swelling in your tendons or muscles, or any broken bones.

  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of your Achilles tendon. This may help your caregiver see if your Achilles tendon is torn.

  • MRI: Your caregiver will use this image to see how much tendon damage you have. This image also may show if you have swelling and bleeding around the torn tendon. You will need to lie still during an MRI. Never enter the MRI room with any metal objects. Metal objects can cause serious injury.

Treatments:

Your treatment will depend on your health, age, level of activity, and type of rupture. You and your caregiver will decide on the treatment that is best for you.

  • Cast: Your caregiver may put a cast on your leg. This cast may stay on your leg for two months or more. The cast may go up to your knee or may extend past your knee. Your foot will be positioned in the cast with your toes pointing slightly down. Your caregiver will change your cast and your foot position several times during the time you are healing. You will not be able to move your foot and ankle until your Achilles tendon heals. Do not move or put weight on your foot until your caregiver tells you it is okay.

  • Leg brace: You may be asked to wear a leg brace or splint to prevent you from moving your foot. These braces will allow you to move your leg and walk when your caregiver says it is okay. Leg braces also may help prevent you from getting another injury in your leg, ankle, or foot.

  • Heel lifts: Heel lifts are special wedges that are put into your shoe or cast. Heel lifts help keep your foot in the best position for healing.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery if other treatments are not successful. Surgery is used to sew the edges of the tendon back together. You may need pieces of another tendon or artificial material called a graft to patch the tear if it is wide. The cut is closed with stitches, and a cast is put on your leg.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Achilles Tendon Rupture (Inpatient Care)

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