What to Expect From an Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery

Kelowna Plastic Surgeon What to Expect From an Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery

Worried about an achilles tendon rupture? Here's everything you need to know about the achilles tendon repair surgery at our Kelowna hospital. 


The achilles tendon is one of the largest and strongest tendons in the body, joining the calf muscle to the heel bone. It allows you to perform a plantar flexion movement, meaning you can bend your foot and toes in a downward motion.

This means that the tendon is essentially responsible for allowing you to perform certain crucial actions including:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Climbing
  • Jumping

However, as strong as it is, the achilles tendon is susceptible to injury, especially when high force or stress is placed on it. This can cause pain and severely limit your movement, so it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

At our private Kelowna hospital, our board-certified plastic surgeons are experienced in foot and fusion surgery, including achilles tendon repairs, to help restore the functionality and health to your body as soon as possible.

 

Causes of a Ruptured Achilles Tendon

A ruptured achilles tendon affects approximately 1 in 15,000 people at any one time, increasing to 1 in 8000 in competitive athletes. It can occur at any age but is most common between the ages of 30-50.

Some of the causes of this injury include:

High force or stress

As with any muscle or tendon in the body, the achilles tendon can be torn if a high force or stress is placed on it.

This can happen with activities which involve a forceful push off with the feet including:

  • Running
  • Football
  • Diving
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
Falls

The achilles tendon may also be injured during falls, especially if the foot is suddenly forced into an upward-pointing position, stretching the tendon too far.

Weakness

Sometimes an injury may occur because the achilles tendon is too weak due to factors such as:

  • Long-term use of corticosteroid medication
  • Other medical conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis & systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Tendinopathy of the achilles tendon

 

Signs That You May Require an Achilles Tendon Repair

You may notice that the symptoms of an achilles tendon rupture come on quite quickly during a sporting activity or injury. You may hear a snap or feel a sudden sharp pain when the tendon is torn. This pain tends to settle, although there may be some residual aching at the back of the lower leg.

After the injury, some of the usual symptoms are:

  • A flat-footed type of walk.
  • You may be able to walk and bear weight, but you are unable to push off the ground properly on the side where the tendon is ruptured
  • Inability to stand on tiptoe
  • If the tendon is completely torn, you may feel a gap just above the back of the heel
  • Swelling

If you suspect you have injured your tendon, it is best to visit your local Kelowna hospital as soon as possible as your doctor will be able to examine your symptoms and determine whether you require an achilles tendon repair surgery.

 

How is an Achilles Tendon Repair Performed?

Regaining the function of your achilles tendon after injury is crucial and the aim of an achilles tendon repair is to reconnect the calf muscles with the heel bone to restore push-off strength.

Some of the general details of an achilles tendon repair include:

Outpatient Basis

In general, an achilles tendon repair typically occurs in an outpatient setting, which means that you will have the foot and fusion surgery and will be able to return home the same day.

Numbing Medicine

Numbing medicine may be placed into the leg, around the nerves, to help decrease any pain felt after the achilles tendon repair.

General Anesthetic

The patient is then put to sleep and placed in a position that will allow the surgeon access to the ruptured tendon.

Repair of Acute Rupture

Repair of the achilles tendon often takes between 30-60 minutes but may take longer depending on the severity of the injury.

 

Who is a Suitable Candidate for an Achilles Tendon Repair?

An achilles tendon repair is best suited for an acute or chronic achilles tendon rupture for patients who are healthy and wish to return to activities such as jogging, running and biking.

However, it is NOT RECOMMENDED for patients who:

  • Have an active infection or unhealthy skin around the achilles tendon
  • Are not healthy enough to undergo surgery
  • Are smokers
  • Have diabetes
  • Engage in steroid use
  • Lead a sedentary lifestyle

As with all foot and fusion surgeries, it is best to consult with your surgeon prior to undergoing an achilles tendon repair as they can help determine whether non-operative treatments or a surgical procedure is the right option for you.

Want to know whether an achilles tendon repair surgery is right for you?

 

What Happens After an Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery?

Generally, the outlook after an achilles tendon repair is good. However, the tendon does take time to heal, usually about 6-8 weeks. More time will be required after this to allow the muscles to regain their normal strength after being in a cast.

Depending on the type of work you do, some patients require several weeks off after an achilles tendon rupture and it can take between 4-12 months to return to sport.

 

Call Today

To find out more about our foot and fusion surgeries, including achilles tendon repairs, contact our private Kelowna hospital at  250-868-9799 or toll free at 877-505-8895 or book a consultation.


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