What Happens?

The rehabilitation you need depends on the type of surgery that you had. If you only had a Haglund bump removed then you will have a flat postoperative shoe. If you had the tendon detached and reattached to the heel bone, you will be in plaster for six weeks, and then in a plastic boot for six weeks.


You will have had injections to numb your foot so that you are not in pain after the operation. This injection will wear off after 18-24 hours, so you must take regular painkillers so that you are not in severe pain when the injection wears off.

The pain will settle over a few weeks. You may see blood stains on the dressings. This is normal and not a cause for alarm. If blood is dripping from the dressings however, return to hospital.


The foot will be swollen as well as sore. You should keep the foot elevated as much as possible for the first two weeks. Keep walking down to a minimum - going to the toilet or for meals. Letting the leg hang down will cause the foot to become more swollen. Most of the swelling will settle within the first few months, but swelling can continue for up to one year.

If you are resting on your sofa, keep your foot elevated on the back rest or arm rest. If you are resting in bed, then place a few pillows under the foot to keep it elevated.


You will normally be in a plaster cast with the foot pointing downwards for a total of six weeks. After two weeks, you will have your stitches removed and a new cast applied. You will not be able to weight bear in this cast.

After six weeks, you will have a plastic boot applied. You will be able to put your heel down to bear weight or balance. The plastic boot has a series of wedges inside which keep the foot pointing down. Full weight bearing is allowed in the boot, which is taken off for washing. After another week, the bottom wedge is removed and discarded. Every week, the bottom wedge is discarded until at twelve weeks after the operation, there are no wedges left in the boot.


If you are in plaster for a prolonged period, you will be at risk of developing a blood clot in your leg. You will be given injections to thin the blood to cut this risk down. These can be self-administered, even in the elderly. You can stop taking these as soon as you progress to a plastic boot.


It is important to keep the Achilles tendon moving while it recovers. However, it is important to avoid stretching the tendon as this could decrease the power of the muscle and even cause a further rupture. The foot points down after surgery in it’s natural position. The exercises consist of pointing the foot down from it’s natural position and then relaxing to allow it back to the natural position. In no way should the foot be forced back to the natural position and pointing the foot upwards risks snapping the tendon again. Twelve weeks after surgery, you can wean yourself off the boot and start stretching the tendon by pointing the foot upwards again, under the supervision of your physiotherapist.

You will need a heel raise to wear for three months after the boot is removed.


You will be in plaster for six weeks and then in a plastic boot for six weeks. I advise that you do not return to work until you can walk comfortably with crutches and the boot, or if your work environment cannot accomodate you with crutches and a boot, you should have at least four months off work. Full recovery will take at least a year. Remember that not everyone is the same, and some people take a longer time to recover from their surgery. Please request a sick note before you leave hospital, if you need one.

six weeks in plaster

then six weeks in

plastic boot

wedges inside boot

about this conditionHeel_Bumps.html
what your 
operation involvesHeel_Bump_Surgery.html
what to expect
after surgery
back to homepagehomepage.html
back to conditions of the foot and ankleconditions.html