The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. A rupture occurs when there is a tearing or separation of the tendon fibers. An Achilles heel rupture leads to loss of normal function.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
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Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options may include the one or more of the following:
When you are injured, apply these steps right away and seek medical help:
- Stop your activity and stay off the injured foot.
- Apply an ice pack. Place a towel between the ice pack and your skin.
- Wrap your injured foot and ankle in elastic bandaging. Do not wrap the bandage too tight. It may cut off circulation.
- Elevate your foot above the level of your heart.
To help manage pain, your doctor may advise:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs)
- Prescription pain relievers
Surgery is the most common treatment for this condition. An incision is made in the lower leg and the tendon is sewn back together. A
cast, splint, walking boot, or brace is worn for 6-8 weeks. One of the benefits of surgery is that it lowers the risk of re-rupturing the tendon. Surgery may also be a better option if you are athletic.
The other option is to allow your tendon to heal without surgery. In this case, you also need to wear a cast, splint, walking boot, or brace for 6-8 weeks. You also may have different exercises to do. If you are less active or have a chronic illness that prevents surgery, this option may be better for you.
During rehabilitation, you will:
range-of-motion exercises for the legs. Ankle motion will begin when healing allows.
- Progress to strengthening and balance exercises as your condition improves
- Use crutches or a walker to protect the healing tendon
- Be advised of other exercises and activities that are safe for you
Most people can return to normal activity in 4-6 months.