Achilles Tendon Rupture, complications after surgery, numbness in foot and toes

by Al Pellagrino
(Morganville, NJ)

Hi all,

I'm 20 weeks post op. My surgery to repair a completely ruptured achilles was on March 12, 2012.

I was in a cast for 2 weeks, then the stitches were removed.

At that point I was placed in a boot for 8 weeks using crutches with no weight bearing. After a total of 8-10 weeks I began partial weight bearing still with crutches and therapy started at the 8 week mark. After 12 weeks I got rid of the crutches and was walking with a slight limp.

At the 16 week mark is where I noticed no more limping except when I first wake up and take my first steps. Through all this I did't mention that I have numbness in the bottom of my foot that goes to the tips of my toes. It's driving me crazy! wearing shoes and even sneakers is uncomfortable.

I have weakness in my calf muscle which i'm attributing to the numbness. Things are not coming along the way I had hoped. I have followed all orders from Doctor and Therapist. Went to a neurologist yesterday for the numbness. Waiting for results of an EMG test. This is really getting to me. Doctors and Therapist all say this is normal. Recovery can take up to a year.

This is very hard to accept when it does not feel any better day to day. I can only compare how I feel, month to month. This is a long process but I'm afraid the numbness may not come back. Is there anyone out there that had this similar situation and then got better? please respond.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Al.

Achilles Tendon Rupture is a far cry worse than Achilles Tendonitis.

But Tendonitis is a -dynamic- made up of multiple factors, some of which create the rupture scenario.

All those factors are still in place after Achilles Tendon Surgery.

So a year for recovery is unfortunately, incredibly common. And that's not even for 'back to 100% recovery'.

Plus, you have some kind of nerve issue. You're either very nutritionally deficient (likely and entirely possible), or the already tight muscles got tighter and are compressing a nerve (possible and incredibly likely), or worst case scenario, the surgery nicked or cut or severed a nerve or two (let's hope not).

A nicked or cut nerve is going to cause long term problems.

Tight muscles compressing nerve will continue to compress nerve until you make the tight muscles not tight.

Nerve issue from nutritional insufficiency/deficiency will continue to cause nerve issue until you increase how much your body has access to.

Is time and Rest going to fix this? Maybe. Unlikely.

Are you doing anything to combat the Process of Inflammation that's active in there?

Are you supplementing nutritionally at all?

See: Pain Causing Dynamic

See: Magnesium For Tendonitis

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Achilles Tendon Rupture, complications after surgery, numbness in foot and toes

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Jan 21, 2018
Ruptured Achilles tendon
by: William

I am at month seven and still have complete atrophy of my medial calf muscle and daily pain and throbbing throughout my heel and ankle as well as the tendon itself no one can seem to give me a halfway decent answer about it??


Joshua Comments:

Hi William.

You're looking for a good answer about what, exactly?

Jan 08, 2018
My Complications After Achilles Rupture Repair Surgery
by: Frank

I had a double rupture on my right foot which was misdiagnosed by one of those quick service places that it seems their specialty is alcohol and drug testing, never going there again.

Well three weeks later I was transferred to an orthopedic place that took xrays and confirmed the achilles ruptures scheduling surgery 3 days later after an mri was also done.

I did everything I was told to do non weight bearing, etc. I was sent to PT 8 weeks post op well than the crap hit the fan pt had opened my incision even after I kept informing them the incision stained seemed to be getting bigger with each session, when I saw the orthopedic surgeon after week 4 he blurts out what the heck happened, I told him than he says I've gotta get to the hospital immediately for surgery tomorrow.

He squeezed at the incision and yep it was infected well it happened again 3 weeks later still infected, another surgery no.3 afterwards I was informed if they couldn't remove the infection which would have caused sepsis he would have to remove my leg below the knee thats' when I fought back and said no your not!

taking 13 weeks of IV antibiotics thru a Picc line as well on this 3rd surgery they put a wound vac on leaving the incision open for drainage putting me on stronger antibiotics with all kinds of possible side effects which I won't get into.

The final surgery was done 10 weeks later by a plastic surgeon who I can only say she did an awesome job.

Well I've been having PT someplace else I refused to go back to that other place, now since Oct so I've spent 6 months off my foot losing lots of calf muscle, currently I'm in my 4th month of PT which is going great, I do have the needles, numbness and tingling going on all the time on the outer portion of my foot from the outer ankle bone to pinkie toe, with the recent cold spell I'm upgrading my pain level to razors and get the hell off my foot syndrome, well it seems like a hot soak alleviates a lot of those symptoms even if its only for a short spell.

Will it get better I don't know but I'm walking and fighting back to get to where I was before I fell just walking alongside the secretary helping her carry lunch boxes from her car thats the most expensive lunch the company bought me their still paying, as am I. Good Luck to all A Speedy recovery as well.

Dec 10, 2017
Reruptured Achilles Numbness and Pain Problems
by: Henry

I (25yo male) first ruptured my right Achilles about 4 months ago playing soccer. I recognise that I'm young and quite fit and so I was advised to take the conservative, non-surgical treatment in a Vacoped and I was more than willing to take this road.

3.5 months into rehab and my recovery was going well and I was out of the boot and back into physio. I did note that I was feeling ongoing numbness on the side of my injured heel and my specialist advised that would go away. Then I had a fall on some stairs at work and re-ruptured it... probably 95% of the tendon had snapped based off my mri.

Had to get surgery this time to clean up the mess that was my Achilles. I'm now 2.5 weeks post op and things appear to have gone well aside from an advancement in the numbness I'm experiencing. The numbness now extends down my foot to my toes, basically along the fourth and fifth metatarsal. I also experience pain and pins and needles in this area, as well as sharp pain in extending the leg after prolonged knee bend.

I'm just after some opinions about whether this seems like nerve damage or if it's just a strangulation of the nerve caused by tightness and swelling.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Henry.

If you have all your balance and ability to move (ankles/toes/etc) then it's PROBABLY the result of tightness and swelling.

Dec 10, 2017
Achilles tendon calf surgery
by: Misty

I did have surgery 10 weeks ago and about to have another surgery on opposite foot. They are from heel spurs but he is also cutting half muscle to release tension .

Dec 10, 2017
Achilles tendon calf surgery
by: Misty

Sept. 29th I had surgery so 10 week mark today ..everything was fine as long as I kept pain med in me but when it wore off pain was so bad in heel and top of foot.

Numbness never went away. On bottom of heel and right side a little. Pain tingling in toes constant keeps me up at night . Been off pain med for 1 month now .

This Friday will none my second foot for surgery.. I'm afraid of course . I hurt when I walk now. The ball of my foot is burning and calf feels like a Charlie horse. So can it stand the wright . I've tried on crutches yo see . I just want to scream . Does it get better ?????


Joshua Comments:

Hi Misty.

It looks like there was a typo there so I'm not sure, you did or did not get surgery on the other foot (while the first one was still having such terrible post-surgery symptoms).

Dec 09, 2017
tendon rupture
by: Anonymousjack

Tendon complete healed by its self but still have not much feeling in my toes cannot walk up steps this has taken 4 years to heal toes feel numb and heal is sore to walk on have rubber pads in shoes helps but still limp when walking dont think i will get any better.


Joshua Comments:

Hi AnonymousJack.

Why exactly do you think the rupture healed all by itself? You had a followup MRI showing the tendon is completely healed?

Nov 08, 2017
Two failed achilles rupture surgeries
by: Dennis D.

I had a ruptured tendon, my doctor sent me to PT which caused it to get worse.

While commercial fishing on my boat in Alaska, it popped and my boot had to be cut off.

I was carried off the boat and had surgery the next week August 7 2015.

After surgery I was in a big plastic boot with zero weight bearing for six weeks which was a challenge because I am a bk (below the knee) amputee on the opposite leg.

Three days after surgery my toes were still numb, I suspected the mid thigh block damaged my nerve. At eight weeks I started light PT when I put any weight on my foot it felt like I was walking on sharp rocks my foot ached 24 7. Doing light PT with elastic bands my Achilles developed a small separation and just got worse.

I quit PT. the neuropothy in my foot drove me crazy. I went to a neurologst and was given electric conductivity test, halve a dozen pads on my foot and shocked on nerves in my thigh. One nerve showed no response and several other nerves showed a weak signal.

February 10 2016 I had my second surgery the surgeon did an aligrapht attaching my big toe tendon to make repairs to my achilies and put in a hard cast for eight weeks. About the fourth day I started having a panic attack from the tight cast I wanted to bust it off with a sledge hammer I was rushed to the doctor and given valium.

I had never experienced any thing like that before it was scary. After eight weeks in the cast I was put in the boot with light weight bearing for two weeks then started light PT same story.

It's now September 19 and the tendon is almost gone and my nureropothy is still killing me.

Now my artificial leg is my good one, I would like my left leg amputated but all the doctors tell me to hold off. If this continues much longer I will take it off with my chain saw myself.


Joshua Comments:

Yeah....PT isn't a particularly good strategy to fix/repair a torn achilles tendon, especially if it's more than a tiny tear.

A rupture down the road from that isn't particularly surprising.

It's November now, how's things. Hopefully you haven't ran that chainsaw yet.

See Related: Tendon Rupture Left Too Long Surgery And Infection And Failed Surgery

Jul 01, 2017
2 1/2 months post tear repair surgery and still pain
by: Ingrid

I fell Oct 2016, went to the foot doctor and received cortisone injection in Nov.2016,it did not help.

MRI discovered torn tendon and plantar fascitis would need both surgery in order not to have a recurring tendon tears besides that I had flat feet and my foot collapsed.

HAD the Surgery 1/25/17,the most painful experience, non bearing for 2 months, extreme pain , finally got into a boot and I still have pain and now my hip hurts from all the weight of the boot and pressure.

Unfortunately my surgery was unavoidable and I still have major discomfort that leads to major pain.

I don't know how much longer before I will feel normal again, I will find out if therapy starts soon when I visit the doctor this week. Very depressing experience that is not over yet.

Jun 22, 2017
by: Daryl


In November 2011 I ruptured my acillies tendon while playing tennis.

My partner and opposition players all heard it crack.

Within a week I had a keyhole operation to repair it.

I recall nurses in the hospital were getting concerned because they were regularly checking my toes for feeling but not until 27 hours after the op was there some sensation.

I think this may have been the first indication that all was not well.

My recovery procedure was similar to yours but foot and toe numbness was a real concern. There was no pain just a very annoying and uncomfortable feeling which never goes away.

A surgeon friend of mine suggested the anesthetist may have damaged the SIRAL nerve to cause this.

The surgeon who did the op suggested it may take a couple of years to recover.

I had my foot "mapped" twice to try and identified where any feeling was or wasn't but the process was pretty useless.

I went back to the anesthetist to investigate if anything could be done.

He was very apologetic and agreed the siral nerve could have been damaged which could cause the numbness and gross discomfort.

I am nearly 6 years down the track and nothing has changed.

I am writing this on 22nd day of June 2017 and only today I made an inquiry with lawyers specialising in medical negligence.

Everyday I think of the surgeon and anesthetist and how different it could be if I had never met them.

After checking, the Lawyers advised that I would not have a valid case as these numbing side affects were common following this type of surgery and it was just unfortunate.

I am now 73 years old and expect to have the problem as long as I live.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but you may have to get used to the discomfort.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Daryl.

Ouch, sorry to hear that (the rupture and the repercussions).

The injury itself could have damaged nerve (did you have numbness after the injury, or ONLY after the surgery?).

The surgeon could have nicked/damaged a nerve.

The anesthetist could have damaged the nerve, as you described.

It's possible but at this point unlikely that inflammation is still causing swelling that is compressing the nerve (should have noticed some ups and downs in sensation).

Unfortunately, doctors et al are pretty well insulated from legal repercussions from damage caused during surgery. No guarantees, no money back, whatever results is your problem not theirs.

Sep 08, 2016
Irene neuroma after achilles reconstruction surgery
by: Irene M

In OCT 2014 I had an achillies reconstruction surgery. I was in a cast for 2 weeks then the boot for 8 and start rehab but I was battling with the pain so I went back to my doc and he suggested Plasmapheresis so he did that.

The pain started to get worse but carried on with life , where the scar is ut was very sensentive and had a burning feeling. so in Jan 2016 I went 4 a 2nd opinion 2nd doc suggested re surgery and also to tell my doc to do Xrays and MRI's.

So I went back to my doc in Feb 2016 he check me and said he thinks it is a neuroma . He gave me meds and MRI was done in March . He said it is a neuroma and sugery was done . He removed the nerves.

I went back to doc he put me on pain killers and said I must get myself a foot arch support. I am still battling with my leg I cannot sit or stand for long. I was in so much pain I went 4 phsyio , tried a few session she suggested I go see a BIO so currently I am doing dat.

She did notice that my foot is gone into an angle. I am so tired now as this is effecting my work and home.


See Related: 1 Week PostOp Achilles Tendon Tear Repair Pain Increasing

See Related: Achilles Tendonitis Surgery Two Years Ago Still Healing

Jun 14, 2016
Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
by: Samantha

I'm a 35 year old female. I have enjoyed long distance running for several years now. I love the mental release from a long run and the physical benefits. It's great for setting and achieving goals.

In the Spring of 2015, I completed three half marathons. I've never been a fast runner, I run for me. I took a two month break before starting training for my final half marathon of the year. I had a good training run and was feeling on top of the world.

I ended up working a night shift followed by an early morning shift. That morning I was so exhausted, I missed the handle for my truck door, stumbled and ended up with an inversion sprain of my ankle. I felt a tug on the bottom of my foot.

This was not the first sprain to my ankle, maybe the 20th. A complication of being hypermobile.

I took a three week break from running, did the usual strengthening and rehab. Set out for a run and had this horrible sense of instability in the arch. Stopped at a mile and went home.

Severe heel pain developed and walking long distances was impossible. I tried all of the self treatment therapies for plantar faciitis with no success after 2 months.

Saw a podiatrist and was officially diagnosed with plantar faciitis. Given a script for PT.

PTs threw everything at it. Ultrasound, Graston, e-stim, tens, edema control, icing, heat, cupping, it taping, rigid taping you name it. Did the night splint, everything. Addressed muscle imbalances as well. Got prescribed rigid orthotics, which, through a series of snafus by the lab, took 3 months to receive.

At my wit's end and went to an orthopedic surgeon. Tried Tenex. Pain worsened 3 weeks post op as I became more weight bearing. Tried semi rigid orthotics designed by am fit and tekscan.

Orthotics did not relieve the heel pain. 4 months post op and the pain has worsened. Continued PT treatment trying to keep calf muscles limber.

Cannot tolerate walking barefoot or single leg calf raises or balancing. Rigid taping has helped me be comfortably mobile for about 4-5 hours a day. Started Bowen treatment to help cope with the stresses of 11 months of chronic pain.

Finally demanded an MRI. Have a plantar fascia rupture that failed to show clearly on 4 previous ultrasound scans. Now I am scared of how much longer further treatment is going to take. I am slowly losing the mental war.

Running was my coping mechanism for stress, I don't even have walking for that now. There are days the inflammation and pain are so bad, riding a stationary bike is not possible.

I'm down to immobilization with full release and possibly a gastroc release. Has anyone successfully recovered from this and still has the ability to run?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Samantha.

So.... you had surgery for plantar fasciitis:

A. What exactly did they cut on?

B. They did PF surgery WHILE you had a rupture..and didn't know about the rupture?

Is that accurate?

If that's accurate...ouch.

No treatment is going to help a ruptured plantar fascia, short of reattachment surgery.

Then it would be smart to deal with the factors that led up to the rupture.

Hypermobility doesn't help anything, so that's a constant downside.

How hypermobile are you? All over or just in some joints?

See Related: Ruptured Plantar Fasciitis After Years Of Doing What The Doctor Said

Mar 09, 2016
I also have numb foot after lacerated achilles
by: Jill

I can totally relate to your situation. I too have a totally numb sole of my foot - since I had my surgery weeks ago.

However my pain has increased and my foot looks half dead at times... my doctor advised it is a complication from surgery known as "complex regional pain syndrome", and affects to nerves and nervous system. Google this and see if you have the same symptoms.

Good luck!

Jan 27, 2016
by: Nancys

I am a 59 year old female who is admittedly obese with borderline non-insulin controlled diabetes. With a high-normal vitamin B12 level I have had chronic foot problems with with plantar fasciitis that required a fasciaotomy in the 80's.

This was relatively successful for several years as long as I wore custom made orthotics. I developed chronic Achilles tendinitis approximately 10 years ago which waxed and waned until about 2 years ago when the pain became constant and debilitating.

An MRI showed significant thickening and chronic tearing with calcification of the Achilles. With the exception of the heel and ankle pain associated with the Achilles tendinitis, I had no other symptoms or complaint in my foot.

I underwent an Achilles tendon reconstruction on May 6 of 2016. I awoke from surgery and was comfortable until the popliteal nerve block wore off. I was left with numbness and burning across the ball of my foot and all of my toes, especially the bottom.

This has persisted through recovery and physical therapy. It get worse with walking or standing and inhibits activity. I have seen an rehab medicine DR who told me it was nerve related so he sent me to a neurologist.

I under went an EMG and nerve conduction study feeling sure my problem would be explained, The study was reported as normal.

A follow up MRI revealed only minimal fluid in the tarsal tunnel, so I was told it is not tarsal tunnel syndrome.

The surgeon told me he has no idea what it could be and he doesn't think it is related to the surgery. Again it was not there until I had surgery.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Joshua Comments:

It is entirely unsurprising that a surgeon is going to think/say that post-surgery pain isn't related to surgery.

Surgery ignores all the causes of pain/problem/tendon tearing/calcification/etc.

So regardless of what or how surgery might help, all the causative factors are still in place.

The extra weight doesn't help at all, the diabetes doesn't help at all (and depending on where you're at, is contributing to the overall dynamic.

Dealing with nutritional intake will help everything work better (weight loss, reverse the diabetes, help muscle/connective tissue fuction more optimally.)

Processed foods lack nutrition.
Sugar lacks nutrition.
Gluten from wheat/wheat products/msg/etc is an inflammatory agent. Inflammation causes the body to put on weight. It also damages the gut, which causes inflammation, nutritional insufficiency, and auto-immune issues, and....diabetes!

I'm making some assumptions in your scenario, but I essentially say this to anyone with health problems:
Eat only real food. No processed food.
Cut out most/all sugar.
Cut out ALL gluten.

I would of course suggest my Reversing Achilles Tendonitis program. It covers nutrition you VERY much need, and describes self care to lower pain and get things in there working better.

Having said that, if a nerve was cut/nicked during surgery, that's bad news, and there's really not a lot one can do about that.

Inflammation/swelling from the insult of surgery could be compressing nerve.

Inflammation process dumps pain enhancing chemical into the tissue, so that is surely playing a role.

More questions, more answers.

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