Achilles Tendon Repair

Achilles Tendon Repair Overview

An Achilles tendon repair treats a partially or completely torn Achilles tendon. Patients who injure their ankle and experience Achilles tendon tear symptoms should make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedics and Neurological Associates’ (CONA) foot and ankle specialist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment makes the injury and symptoms worse.

How is an Achilles tendon repair performed?

An outpatient Achilles tendon repair is performed under general anesthesia. A CONA specialist:

  1. Begins the procedure. Soft tissues are delicately retracted so the tear can be visualized.
  2. Makes repairs. Sutures repair the tear.
  3. Finishes the procedure. Absorbable sutures close soft tissues layers. Removeable sutures close the skin. A sterile dressing and ace bandage are placed over the surgical site.

A splint is placed on the lower leg to protect and immobilize it. Total procedure time is approximately 60-90 minutes.

What conditions can Achilles tendon repair treat?

An Achilles tendon repair treats a partially or completely torn Achilles tendon and associated symptoms. Achilles tendon tears usually occur while running and jumping. Symptoms include:

  • An audible pop
  • Bruising
  • Inability to point the foot down
  • Pain
  • Swelling

Lasting symptom relief does not occur unless the tear is properly treated.

What are Achilles tendon repair advantages?

Patients return to normal activities with minimal to no restrictions after recovery. Athletes and active individuals return to sports and exercise and their Achilles tendon is stronger and more stable than ever.

What is Achilles tendon repair recovery like?

A splint immobilizes the leg for two weeks after surgery. A cast is put on at the first follow up appointment and remains on for four weeks (the cast is changed for comfort purposes after two weeks). A removable boot is worn six weeks after surgery. Physical therapy starts at this time. Stretching exercises improve flexibility. Physical therapy continues until a full recovery is made, usually about 6-8 months after surgery. 

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