Achilles Tendon Rupture Website c.2016

A quick reference all text, mobile friendly resource for people or persons recovering from a Achilles Tendon Rupture Injury



Week 1

The Rupture

For most this is a sporting injury, perhaps you where reaching for a ball whilst playing tennis or squash. Perhaps you landed awkwardly from high ball in football or rugby. Either way you are in for a long and tedious recovery that will require life changes for at least 3 months, probably 6.


A good test to see if you Achilles is completely snapped is to squeeze you calf muscles. If you squeeze the good leg the foot will twitch, if it is still attached! When squeezing a calf that is not attached (i.e. the Achilles tendon is snapped) then the foot will not twitch.


No. The Achilles even if complete snapped will heal by itself, but you will not be able to walk as well afterwards. The Achilles will heal at a significantly longer length than it should be. This will result in a shortened calf muscle. Muscles are designed to work a specific length, and as a result of a lengthen Achilles, you right foot will not be able to push down as far. This will result in a limp or increased use of you toes whilst walking.

In general for sporty active types or those with a physical job a tendon repair is much favored. And as many top grade sports people will vouch, will return you to pretty much perfect functionality so long as you are patient and listen to all advice from surgeons and physiotherapists.

Before the Operation

Before you have your operation, you may be in pain or not be in pain. I did not have any pain. In fact I could walk around sort of, so long as I did not put any weight on the ball of my right foot. All weight had to be transferred trough the heel, otherwise . . .pain.

This was working OK for the first 24hrs, but when you visit the hospital they will likely want to put you lower leg in a splint so as to prevent further damage and to make sure the ankle is at a good angle for surgery. The splint in none weight bearing and so you will not be able to use you affect foot. So you will be on crutches. Although this may be tricky for the first day or two, it gets easy very quickly, it is also quite tiring, which if you are used to having lots of exercise, helps soften the loss, of you work out regime.

Staying Useful

In the kitchen where you need your hands to cook etc. try kneeling on a chair, you can kneel with both knees or just the bad knee. Either way this will let you work at a work top in some comfort. You can also shuffle the chair around whilst kneeling on it with you bad knee, and this do all sorts of jobs that require both hands. A padded dining chair is preferential.

It is impossible to carry a cup of tea or coffee whilst walking with crutches. An easier way is to make a flask of tea, by the kettle and then pop it in a bag (shoulder or rucksack) and carry it to where you which to drink it. Alternately take a book with you and drink it is the kitchen! Another alternative to to place all of the items in a small trolley, and push this along with you crutches. But unless you have children you may not have a small trolley. Investigate Knee Scooters if you have to keep moving.

Provided you have a soft chair or stool to kneel your bad leg on, there a lost of jobs you can do. Carrying things around is the most difficult thing. If other are around to help position things then ask them, it will make them feel good for helping.

Staying Fit

  • As this is a sporting injury for most, then we can assume that most will want to try and do some exercise. Any exercise involving the bad leg is off the menu for 3 weeks post surgery realistically, but there are lot other thing to do in the mean time.

    There are lots of videos on YouTube that show how to do upper body leg free work outs and are quite good (or "no feet work out"). There are no where near as good as going for a run or a bike ride, but this is a compromise that must be made. If you over use you healing leg, then you will delay your recovery, perhaps considerably. So don't be stubborn.

  • Staying Clean

    If you want to stay clean buy the following as soon as you have been injured.

    Waterproof Cast Cover

    You will also need to keep you cast dry. As soon as you can order a waterproof cast cover from the internet, they cost about 15 ($30) and are a very good investment. Get one with a rubbery seal around the top of the cast cover. Limbo make a good one.

    Perhaps one of the most dangerous part of the day is having a shower. Using crutches on a wet surface is lethal, and not for the faint hearted. Make sure your crutches have very grippy rubber end and keep the crutches absolutely vertical at all times.

    Size G Tubular Bandage

    When out an about, say in the streets or shops, I think it is good to try and keep clean. So I have bought so tubular bandage to cover my cast and keep it clean, alternatively you might consider some "over boots" made a motocross riding by OMP. As these keep rain and mud off of you cast / splint.

    Spare Crutches?

    I personally do not wear outdoor shoes in the house, so being over fussy I have got hold of a spare pair of crutches to use outdoors, and keep a clean set for indoors. This may not worry you but I feel happier this way.

    Driving - Part 1

    If you have injured your left foot, lucky you, you can get a note from your doctor to say you are "fit" to drive an automatic. Your work might provide you with an automatic car, so as to get you back to work. This will be cheaper for them thank paying your sick pay.

    In the UK, you can not drive with a cast on your right leg. You can take a test so that you can drive an automatic with your left foot, but you do have to take a test.

  • If your job involves a lot of driving this puts you in a bit of spot. The problem (even if you think you can drive) is insurance, as you have to be "fit" to drive. And if you were to crash, then any claimant could maintain that your inability to drive properly was a result of you leg being in a cast.

  • A suitable alternative might be an e bike. You do not need insurance for one of these. You will need a "twist and go" e bike as you will not be able to pedal for 2 weeks post operation. If you are worried about the school run, then some e bikes can seat 2 or 3 kids on a large rear seat. So you can pick up the kids and do shopping just as you would with a car.

  • Also think about home delivery for shopping. This avoids having to drive.

  • Can you work from home?

  • The Operation

  • After 1 week on a waiting list I sitting in hospital waiting for my operation. The week leading up to the op was wasted time healing wise and I was very glad to be there. There are numerous surgical procedures for reattaching the two end of the Achilles tendon. Which involve stapling or stitching the ends together.

    Some times if the heel end (distal) of the tendon is very short then a bone anchor may be used to tension the stiches against. The common method is percutaneous, which means a small cut (incision) is made which reduces risk of healing problems.

    My repair was carried our under general anesthetic, I was given morphine before general anesthetic which was lovely. Some may opt for a nerve block during the procedure, which numbs the whole lower leg. However, this can take long time to wear off, and I was keen to leave hospital on that same day, so I opted for no nerve block. Consequently I was in a small amount of pain when I awoke from by general anesthetic at 2pm in the afternoon, but this has become much lessened by bed time, and was pain free when taking 2 paracetamol (1000mg).

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