Achilles Tendon Tear: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of a ruptured Achilles tendon

You have ruptured or torn your Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon (also called the heel cord) connects the calf muscles on the back of the lower leg to the bone at the base of the heel.

Treatment for an Achilles tendon injury depends on whether the tendon has been partially torn or completely ruptured. A cast or splint can often treat a partial tear. If your tendon has ruptured, 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 call line 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 sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

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

  • You have increased or severe 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 cannot move your toes.
  • You have a fever, or there is drainage or a bad smell coming from the cast.
  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness or swelling in your leg.
  • The skin under your cast or splint burns or stings.

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

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: May 23, 2016