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Achilles tendon rupture

Patient information A-Z

What is an Achilles tendon rupture?

X-ray showing an Achilles tendon rupture

The Achilles tendon is a large rope-like band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscle to the back of your heel.

When your calf muscles contract, the Achilles tendon tightens; it pulls on the heel to make us go on tip toe or pushes us forward when walking or running.

An injury to the Achilles tendon can occur unexpectedly or during sudden calf muscle activity, such as running or sprinting.

When the rupture occurs, it is often described as if you have been hit or kicked in your calf causing sudden pain.

You will not be able to move your foot upwards and your movements will feel uncontrolled.

Your Achilles injury will have been treated with either a walking boot with wedges or a plaster cast with your toes pointing to the floor.

An ultrasound scan may be requested to examine the extent of the injury and you will be offered an appointment in the fracture clinic with the consultant to discuss treatment options for this injury.

Patient with diabetes, neuropathy or vascular conditions should check their skin twice a day to make sure no sores are starting to form from the boot. If a sore is starting to form, please contact the plaster room on 01223 217772, or the virtual clinic on 01223 348299 for further advice.

Diagram of ruptured Achilles tendon

You should:

  • Keep your appointment in the fracture clinic.
  • Wear the boot day and night, only removing it for hygiene purposes, making sure that your foot does not touch the floor.
  • All patients must wear the sock supplied, whilst wearing the boot to prevent any sores forming.

You should not:

  • Drive whilst wearing the walking boot or plaster cast.
  • Patients must not remove any wedges from the boot unless they are told to do so following their appointment with the consultant.

Please remember:

Please contact your GP if your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate.

If your condition is worsening please contact the Multi professional fracture clinic on 01223 348299 or 01223 257095.

For more information please visit Fracture Info (opens in a new tab)

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151