n Achilles Tendon Repair - AOA Orthopedic Specialists

Surgery for Achilles Tendon Rupture


There are two types of surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon: Open Surgery & Percutaneous Surgery.

In open surgery, the surgeon makes a single large incision in the back of the leg.

In percutaneous surgery, the surgeon makes several small incisions rather than one large incision.

In both types of surgery, the surgeon sews the tendon back together through the incision(s). Surgery may be delayed for about a week after the rupture to let the swelling go down.

About the Achilles Heel

In Ancient Greek mythology, Achilles was the name of a great war hero whose body was said to be blessed with invincibility when his mother dipped him into the river Styx as a child. Unfortunately for Achilles, the only part of him that wasn’t blessed by the magic river was the ankle his mother held him by as she lowered him in, which as the story goes, eventually lead to his downfall. In anatomy, your Achilles tendon is the stretchy band that connects your calf muscle to the back of your ankle, the greek legends’ mythical weak spot.
Now you might not be a warrior like Achilles, but if you are an athlete or just live an active lifestyle you might still be at risk for Achilles tendonitis, the wearing down of the tendon through overuse or damage. If you are over the age of 30, arthritis and gout can also contribute to the weakening of the tendon which can be painful on it’s own. Ultimately, significant trauma to the Achilles tendon can even cause the tendon to rupture causing intense pain and a loss of functionality in the associated foot.
If you are faced with a ruptured Achilles tendon, surgery is recommended at the soonest opportunity to repair the damage and get you back on your feet with the best possible outcome. Arlington Orthopedic Associates is well equipped to deal with the issue, with a dedicated team of foot and ankle specialists and decades of experience. While you may require some physical rehabilitation, the operations related to ruptured Achilles tendons are relatively simple and over quickly.
Surgery for ruptured Achilles tendons can be done two ways: open surgery, or percutaneous surgery. In open surgery, an incision is made down the back of the lower leg, opening up the ankle/calf area. The surgeon then simply reattaches the ruptured ends of the tendon and sutures them together so the tendon can begin to heal. If necessary in some cases, the surgeon might even wrap the affected tendon with an organic mesh to assist in the healing process. In percutaneous surgery, the suturing of the tendon is done through multiple smaller incisions rather than opening the back of the leg. This surgery is better for patients with poor circulation in their legs who might have trouble healing as a result. Our orthopedic specialists will make sure to find the right operation for you.
Once the surgery is complete you will be able to go home the same day. You will be given a special boot to wear on the affected foot and can actually start physical rehabilitation with our therapists as early as two weeks! The Therapy Department of Arlington Orthopedic Associates is there to make sure your operation succeeds by helping you every step of the way through your rehabilitation. Through a regimen of exercises including stretches, weight bearing activities, and specialized braces, we can get your foot functional again in a fraction of the time required in years past.


How long is the recuperation period following surgery for an Achilles tendon rupture?

Depending on the severity of the damage and the type of surgery performed, recovery time can vary. After surgery, patients must typically wear a cast or walking boot for many weeks, and physical therapy will be required to regain ankle strength and flexibility. Many months may pass before patients can resume their normal activities.

Can a rupture of the Achilles tendon be prevented?

Although it may not be possible to avoid all Achilles tendon ruptures, individuals can try to lessen their risk. This involves stretching and strengthening exercises and avoiding activities that exert undue stress on the tendon.

What is the success rate of surgery for repairing a ruptured Achilles tendon?

Depending on the severity of the injury and the patient’s general health, the surgical success rate for an Achilles tendon rupture can vary. After surgery, however, most patients can regain strength and movement in the damaged leg. When a competent surgeon performs the procedure, and appropriate postoperative care is administered, the risk of re-rupture or complications is relatively low.

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