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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.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist as directed:

Your orthopedist will need to check your foot, ankle, and leg. Tell him about your symptoms. Your orthopedist may change the position of your foot and your cast during each visit. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Activity:

Your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist will tell you when it is okay to walk or climb stairs. He will also tell you when it is okay to play sports again. You may not be able to play sports for 6 months or longer. Ask when you can go back to work or school. Do not drive until he says it is okay.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen, stretch, and improve range of motion of your leg. He may also show you exercises that are not weight bearing, so they will not hurt your Achilles tendon. Do only the exercises advised by your physical therapist or primary healthcare provider.

Crutches:

You may need to use crutches if you have a cast. Crutches will keep you from putting weight on your ankle and foot. Crutches may decrease your risk of another rupture. Ask for more information about how to use crutches.

Walking with Crutches

Contact your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain in your leg that is not helped with pain medicine.
  • You have swelling or redness in your ankle, heel area, or leg.
  • The muscles in your legs become weak.
  • You have numbness, tingling, or burning in your leg.
  • The skin on any part of your legs or hips turns purple.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have trouble standing up or walking.
  • You cannot move your leg or foot.
  • You feel like you may have broken a bone.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Achilles Tendon Rupture (Discharge Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

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