Can You Go Walking on a Torn Achilles? Let's Find Out

walking on a torn achilles

If you've recently torn your Achilles tendon, you may be wondering if you can still walk.  

After all, walking is a basic activity that we all depend on. The answer, however, is not as straightforward as we might think.  

While it may be possible to walk with a torn Achilles, it can be challenging and painful.

The pain is often severe, accompanied by swelling and redness. 

Walking on a torn Achilles can worsen the injury, delay healing, and increase the risk of further damage. That's why it's essential to follow a great treatment plan whether you are dealing with partial tears or a full one.

In this article, we will explore the best treatment options for a torn Achilles so that you can make an informed decision on your road to recovery. 

Key Takeaways

  • A torn Achilles tendon can result in pain, stiffness, and swelling, making walking challenging.
  • The severity of the injury can range from partial tears to complete ruptures.
  • Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for healing and regaining walking function.
  • Rest, rehabilitation, and in some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary for recovery.
  • Implementing long-term prevention strategies can help reduce the risk of future Achilles tendon injuries.

    Getting Better Walking on a Torn Achilles

    When it comes to treating Achilles tendon injuries, the approach taken depends on the severity of the injury. 

    For partially torn tendons, non-surgical treatment options are often effective in promoting healing and restoring functionality. These treatment options include:

    Get some rest

    rest recovery for torn Achilles

    Rest is often the best treatment for a torn Achilles tendon. 

    One of the first steps in treating a torn Achilles is to immediately stop any activity that puts strain on the tendon. This encompasses taking breaks during the day, getting enough sleep allowing our bodies and minds to recharge. 

    By giving the injury the necessary time and support it needs, individuals can ensure they are returning to their normal activities with minimal risk of reinjury. So, if you find yourself facing a torn Achilles, remember that patience and rest are the best remedies for a successful recovery.

    Apply some tape

    Taping has become a popular method of treatment for a torn Achilles, providing support and stability to the injured area. 

    The main aim of taping is to relieve the strain on the tendon and promote proper alignment of the foot and ankle.

    The taping technique provides additional support to the weakened tendon, preventing excessive stretching and minimizing the risk of further damage. This means that individuals can maintain some level of independence and mobility during their recovery phase.

    By applying the tape in a specific pattern, it can help reduce pain, inflammation, and assist in maintaining a functional range of motion.

    Wear compression bands or sleeves

    Wearing compression bands or sleeves is a popular treatment option for individuals with a torn Achilles tendon. 

    The main benefit of wearing compression bands for a torn Achilles is that they help reduce inflammation. Compression helps to improve blood flow to the injured area, which in turn decreases swelling and speeds up the healing process. 

    This is particularly important for individuals who need to remain active even with a torn Achilles. By wearing these bands, they can continue walking with less pain and minimize further damage.

    Get massage therapy 

    best leg massager for torn achilles

    Massage therapy is a proven method for treating various muscular and soft tissue injuries. 

    One such injury that can greatly benefit from massage therapy is a torn Achilles. 

    Massage therapy for a torn Achilles focuses on reducing pain, increasing blood circulation, and promoting healing. It involves the use of various techniques, such as deep tissue massage, to target the injured area and surrounding muscles. 

    By applying direct pressure and kneading the affected tissues, massage therapy helps alleviate tension, reduce inflammation, and stimulate blood flow.

    Simple massage therapy mediums include visiting a licensed therapist or self massage tools like massage guns or compression leg massagers.

    Both methods not only reduces pain but also aids in the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to the injured area, promoting healing. 

    Go for physical therapy 

    Physical therapy is an essential component of the recovery process for individuals with a torn Achilles tendon.

    The first phase of physical therapy for a torn Achilles typically focuses on reducing pain and swelling. Therapists may use techniques such as ice, compression, and elevation to help manage these symptoms.

    They may also recommend specific exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility around the ankle joint.

    As the healing progresses, the focus of physical therapy shifts towards restoring strength and function. Therapists will prescribe a series of exercises to gradually strengthen the muscles surrounding the Achilles tendon.

    These exercises may include calf raises, ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion exercises, and resistance band exercises. 

    Try some ice

    Another effective and widely used method to treat torn Achilles is through ice therapy. 

    Ice therapy involves applying ice to the affected area in order to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and promote healing.

    When it comes to a torn Achilles, walking can be excruciatingly painful. Ice therapy can also provide much-needed relief by numbing the area and reducing inflammation. Applying ice to the injured area also constricts blood vessels, which helps to decrease swelling and minimize the risk of secondary tissue damage. 

    In addition, the cold temperature helps to numb the area, providing temporary pain relief and allowing individuals to walk more comfortably.

    Do some light stretching exercises 

    Practicing light stretching and strengthening exercises can be highly beneficial for individuals dealing with a torn Achilles tendon. 

    While it may seem counterintuitive to engage in physical activities while recovering from such an injury, carefully chosen exercises can actually aid in the healing process.

    However, gentle stretching exercises that target the calf muscles can help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in the affected area. It is important to perform these exercises under the guidance of a healthcare professional to prevent further strain or damage to the tendon.

    In addition to stretching, strengthening exercises can also play a vital role in treating a torn Achilles. 

    These exercises typically involve toe raises and heel drops to gradually build up strength in the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. It is crucial to start with low-intensity exercises and gradually progress as the healing process allows.

    Possible Risks of Walking on a Torn Achilles 

    When this tendon tears, either partially or completely, it can cause excruciating pain and limited mobility. 

    Despite the intense discomfort, some individuals still attempt to walk on a torn Achilles, often exacerbating the injury and prolonging the healing process. 

    These significant risks include:

    Complete tendon rupture

    Walking on a torn Achilles tendon is not only incredibly painful but also dangerous. 

    One of the primary risks it can cause is complete tendon rupture.

    Tendon injuries can be painful and debilitating incredibly severe. A complete one occurs when the tendon is completely torn, usually as a result of trauma or overuse. 

    This injury is often accompanied by a popping sound and immediate pain, making it difficult to even walk at all.

    Slow recovery 

    Lastly, walking on a torn Achilles can delay your healing process. 

    The Achilles tendon is not as well-vascularized as other tissues, making it more susceptible to slow healing. Continuing to walk on the torn tendon can disrupt the natural healing process and prevent proper scar tissue formation. 

    This may hinder the tendon's ability to regain its strength and functionality, ultimately prolonging the recovery period.

    Overstretched tendon 

    Elongation of the tendon is a common injury that occurs when the tendon, which connects muscle to bone, is stretched beyond its normal capacity. 

    It can result from repetitive activities like walking, running and more.

    When a tendon is elongated, it loses its ability to provide adequate support and stability to the affected joint. This can lead to pain, swelling, and limited mobility. 

    Long term complications

    One of the primary risks of walking on a torn Achilles is the potential for further damage. 

    Walking on a torn Achilles can lead to an uneven gait and altered foot mechanics, which can put extra stress on other areas of the feet, ankles, and legs. Over time, this can cause issues such as tendinitis, arthritis, and even chronic pain. 

    It is crucial to prioritize rest and allow the torn tendon to heal properly to minimize the risk of future complications.

    Factors That Increase Risks of Walking on a Torn Achilles 

    Several factors can increase the risk of torn Achilles tendon injury.

    Understanding these risk factors can help in injury prevention and early intervention.  Some of them include:

    Engaging in high-impact activities 

    high impact activity

    Engaging in high-impact activities or repetitive stress injuries can complicate a torn Achilles, leading to prolonged discomfort and longer recovery periods. 

    Many individuals underestimate the severity of a torn Achilles and continue to push their bodies, walking on a torn Achilles, running or participating in activities that further exacerbate the injury. 

    These activities put immense strain on the already weakened tendon, further compromising its integrity. The repetitive stress and impact can cause the injury to worsen, resulting in a more prolonged and challenging recovery. 

    It is crucial to listen to your body and carefully avoid any activities or movements that can potentially aggravate the injured Achilles.

    Wearing high heels 

    High heels have long been a staple in every woman's wardrobe, adding height, elegance, and confidence to any outfit. 

    However, recent research has shown that wearing high heels can complicate a torn Achilles. 

    The main reason high heels are problematic for those with a torn Achilles is the added strain they put on the tendon. When wearing high heels, the foot is positioned in a way that shortens the Achilles tendon, forcing it to stretch even more than in regular shoes. 

    This excessive stretching puts immense pressure on the already weakened tendon and disrupts the healing process. Additionally, high heels alter the natural gait and distribution of weight, further increasing the risk of injury.

    Exercising on uneven surfaces 

    Exercising on uneven surfaces can pose a significant risk of complications for individuals with a torn Achilles tendon. 

    When individuals attempt to exercise on uneven surfaces, such as hiking trails or rough terrain, the risks are amplified. Uneven terrain requires increased efforts from the leg muscles to maintain balance and stability, placing additional strain on the already compromised Achilles tendon.

    Moreover, uneven surfaces can lead to sudden changes in elevation or unexpected obstacles, increasing the chances of tripping or falling.

    Such incidents can subject the Achilles tendon to sudden and excessive pressure, leading to further stretching or tearing. 

    Wearing worn-out footwear 

    worn out shoes torn Achilles

    Wearing worn-out footwear may seem harmless, but it can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to dealing with a torn Achilles. 

    Many people underestimate the importance of proper footwear and continue to walk on a torn Achilles without realizing the potential complications it can bring.

    When you walk with worn-out shoes, your feet lack the necessary support and cushioning they need. As a result, the strain on your Achilles tendon increases, making it harder for the injury to heal. 

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    Walking on a torn Achilles is a topic that raises many concerns and questions. 

    It is crucial to understand the appropriate measures to take when dealing with this injury to avoid further damage and promote proper healing. Let's address some frequently asked questions on this condition.

    How long does it take to recover from a torn Achilles tendon?

    Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the tear and individual factors such as age and overall health. 

    Generally, it takes several weeks to a few months for healing to occur. Non-surgical treatments, such as immobilization in a cast or walking boot, physical therapy, and medication, may aid in the recovery process. 

    Surgical intervention may be necessary for more severe tears or in cases where nonsurgical methods are unsuccessful. 

    What role do anti-inflammatory medications play if I need to walk with a torn Achilles?

    Anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and swelling, making walking more comfortable during recovery.

    However, they should not be seen as a solution to mask pain for increased activity and should only be used under the proper guidance.

    How soon can I return to normal walking after a torn Achilles?

    Returning to normal walking depends on the treatment approach and the injury's severity. 

    Recovery can range from a few weeks for minor tears treated conservatively to several months or more for severe tears requiring surgery. A gradual return to walking as part of a physical therapy program is typical.

    Does body weight influence recovery when walking with a torn Achilles?

    Higher body weight can increase the strain on a healing Achilles tendon.

    Managing weight through diet and other non-weight bearing exercises can be an important part of recovery to reduce stress on the tendon.


    Walking with a torn Achilles tendon can be a difficult and painful experience. 

    The severity of the injury will determine the treatment options and recovery timeline. Partial tears may allow for walking with proper rest and rehabilitation, while complete tears may require surgery and a longer recovery period. 

    Following the recommended rehabilitation protocols is essential for a successful recovery.

    Adhering to these protocols, along with long-term prevention strategies, can help prevent future Achilles tendon injuries.

    This may include properly fitting footwear, regular stretching and strengthening exercises, avoiding excessive stress on the tendon, and promptly addressing any recurring symptoms. 

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