Repair Your Damaged Achilles and Get Back in Action.
Your Achilles tendon is a strong and fibrous cord that connects your heel bone to the muscles in the back of your calf. A tendon rupture often makes itself known with a popping sound and sharp pain in the lower leg and back of the ankle.
- If your Achilles tendon has been torn in two, you may be a candidate for an Achilles tendon repair.
- Your Achilles tendon needs to be fully functioning in order for you to walk correctly.
About the Surgery
There are two different types of a surgery your doctor may utilize in order to repair an Achilles tendon. In open surgery, a large single incision is made on the back of the leg. In percutaneous surgery, several small incisions are made instead. The minimally invasive version is preferred, because it results in reduced pain and reduced recovery time.
During the surgery, the tendon is sewn back together. A nerve block is often used to reduce pain after surgery. Sutures are used to sew the ends of the ruptured tendon together, and then the incision(s) are closed.
The surgery is performed often a full week after the rupture occurs, in order to allow time for the swelling in the area to decrease. The surgery is considered to be very successful, however, it is important to remember that your foot will likely be less strong than it was previously.
Am I a Candidate?
Although some Achilles tendon ruptures are treated with immobilization (such as the use of a cast, brace, or splint), surgery is able to reduce the risk that the tendon will rupture again.
In general, healthy and active patients are the best candidates for this repair. Often, these patients have a strong desire to return to physical activities such as running and biking. Your foot doctor will be able to help you determine if the procedure is a good fit for you.
If a nerve block is used during the procedure, the numbing sensation will wear off anywhere from eight to 24 hours after the surgery.
You will need a walking boot or cast for several weeks after the procedure. While the medical device is still on, you may be told that it is time to start physical therapy and weight-bearing exercises. Your overall recovery can depend on the type of surgery that is used, the extent of your tendon damage, and how soon you are able to begin rehabilitation exercises. The risk of re-rupture of the tendon is less than five percent. In cases of re-rupture, the tendon can be repaired again.