Achilles Tendon Repair

What is an Achilles tendon repair?

A patient may need to undergo an Achilles tendon repair if they have torn their Achilles tendon. Tears in the Achilles tendon can be partial or complete. The tendon is made up of strong, fibrous cords that connect the calf’s muscles to the heel bone. It aids in the movements of walking or raising the heel and is the strongest and largest tendon in the body. This tendon can be vulnerable to injury due to limited blood supply. Ruptures or tears can occur due to overstretching. Many who rupture their Achilles tendon have no history of prior injuries to the tendon. Ruptures are often caused by sudden and forceful movements. Symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture include hearing a popping sound when the injury occurs, pain and swelling in the heel area, difficulty walking, and difficulty rising up on the toes. An Achilles tendon repair can help the patient regain their mobility.

What is an Achilles tendon repair procedure and recovery like?

During an Achilles tendon repair, an incision will be made through the sheath that surrounds the tendon, and the surgeon will remove the damaged parts of the tendon and repair the tendon using sutures. The surgeon will make any other repairs that are needed and close the incision with sutures. After surgery, the patient may be prescribed pain medication and will need to keep the leg elevated to promote healing and reduce swelling. The patient will need to use crutches after surgery until it is safe to place weight on the leg. After the stitches are removed, the leg may be placed in a boot or cast. The patient will need physical therapy in order to regain optimal mobility. Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles of the leg and the Achilles tendon and allow the patient to return to their former activity levels.

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