Achilles Tendon Repair
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and is very strong. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, allowing for the movement of the foot and ankle. It is essential to the ability to walk, jump, and run. In fact, Achilles tendon ruptures are common tendon injuries that occur in sports. A tear or rupture can occur due to a sudden force or overuse.
In cases involving young and active patients, surgery is required to repair the damaged tendon and restore function to the affected foot. The goal is to restore maximum function. The type of surgery depends on the patient’s age and activity level and whether the tear is an acute injury or a chronic rupture. A chronic rupture is defined as a rupture that occurs in the 4-6 weeks after the injury, often due to being neglected without treatment. Studies report that neglected Achilles tendon rupture occurs at a rate as high as 20%.
What are the types of repair surgery?
Surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia.
This is the traditional method of repairing a ruptured Achilles tendon. It involves making a large incision in the back of the leg, from the calf down to the heel bone. The surgeon then stitches the torn ends of the tendon back together and may reinforce the repair with other tendons. This method provides good access to the damaged tendon but can result in a longer recovery time and more scarring.
After surgery the patient will wear a cast or walking boot for several weeks to protect the repaired tendon and allow it to heal. Physical therapy is essential to restore strength, range of motion and flexibility.
The recovery period after Achilles tendon repair surgery can be lengthy and requires patience and dedication from the patient. It is important to follow the surgeon’s instructions carefully during this time, including maintaining the proper level of activity and avoiding any activities that could stress or damage the healing tendon. Complications from Achilles tendon repair surgery are relatively rare, but they can occur in some cases. In general, most patients are able to return to normal activities after several months of recovery and rehabilitation.
This is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves making multiple small incisions in the skin to access the torn tendon. The surgeon then uses specialized instruments to stitch the torn ends of the tendon back together. This technique is often preferred for less severe ruptures and may offer a faster recovery time and fewer complications than open repair.
One of the main advantages of percutaneous repair is that it can often be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient can go home the same day as the surgery. However, patients will typically need to wear a cast or walking boot for several weeks to protect the area and allow the tendon to heal. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process after percutaneous Achilles tendon repair.
Tendon ruptures that are not immediately recognized and treated may require different surgical repair options because traditional repair methods are no longer possible or likely to succeed.
Tendon transfer is surgery for a chronic tendon rupture. The goal is to reconstruct the Achilles tendon with a tendon transfer from another part of the patient’s body (autograft) or a donor (allograft).
The procedure involves an incision in the back of the ankle to access the damaged tendon. The surgeon carefully detaches the damaged tendon from the heel bone and prepares the area for a tendon transfer. The donor tendon is typically taken from a nearby muscle tendon in the same leg. The tendon is carefully detached from its original attachment site and re-routed to the heel bone, where it is attached using specialized sutures or anchors.
The goal of the surgery is to provide a new and functional connection between the calf muscles and the heel bone, allowing for normal movement and function of the foot and ankle. After the surgery, the patient will typically need to wear a cast or walking boot for several weeks to protect the area and allow it to heal.
Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process after tendon transfer surgery, as it helps to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion to the affected foot and ankle.
Schedule an ankle consultation
When you or a loved one suffers an ankle injury contact LALL Orthopedics + to receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options. Don’t delay as it can affect the outcome. LALL Orthopedics + offers world class care close to home. We have offices in Belvidere, Illinois, Paramus, New Jersey and Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating ankle injuries. He treats non-athletes and athletes at all levels of play from collegiate to professional to the Olympic level. Dr. Lall is a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who cares for all patients like family. Contact LALL Orthopedics + to schedule a consultation, receive the correct diagnosis, and undergo state-of-the-art treatment options.
At a Glance
Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS
- Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
- Triple Fellowship Trained
- Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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