Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Achilles Tendon Tear: Care Instructions

Main Content

Achilles Tendon Tear: Care Instructions

Picture of a ruptured Achilles tendon


You have torn your Achilles tendon. (The Achilles tendon is also called the heel cord.) It connects the calf muscles on the back of the lower leg to the bone at the base of the heel. Sometimes a tendon tear is called a rupture.

Treatment for an Achilles tendon injury depends on how badly the tendon has been torn. A cast or splint can often treat a partial tear. If your tendon has completely torn, you may need surgery. You and your orthopedic doctor will choose a treatment plan, so it is important to go to any follow-up appointments.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Prop up the sore foot on a pillow anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Do not put weight on the affected foot until your doctor says you can. Use crutches or a walker.
  • Wear the splint or cast as directed until your doctor says you can remove it.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have chest pain, are short of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • Your foot is cool or pale or changes colour.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your toes.
  • Your cast or splint feels too tight.
  • You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness or swelling in your leg.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You have a problem with your splint or cast.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter F495 in the search box to learn more about "Achilles Tendon Tear: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.