Achilles Tendon Surgeon in Westchester County
What is Achilles tendon repair?
Achilles tendon surgery is sometimes needed if non-surgical options are ineffective, especially if your Achilles tendon rupture is severe. Often, younger patients and those who lead active lifestyles prefer undergoing treatment to restore the full function of the tendon. The surgery involves attaching the torn portion of the tendon so it can properly heal and restore your strength and function. At Specialty Orthopaedics, our doctors have performed Achilles tendon repairs for years and have the knowledge and expertise to get you back to your active lifestyle after an Achilles injury.
Why is Achilles tendon repair used?
You may be a good candidate for Achilles tendon repair if you’re suffering from any of the following Achilles tendon tear symptoms:
- Heel pain
- Ankle pain
- Calf pain
- Swelling near the heel
- Popping sound or feeling in the back during injury
- Inability to point toes or stand on toes
What are the benefits of having Achilles tendon repair surgery?
The benefits of visiting our practice for your Achilles tendon repair surgery include the following:
- Restored Achilles tendon strength and mobility
- Achilles tendon pain relief
- Experienced and caring ankle surgeons
- Evidence-based orthopedic techniques
- Performed at some of the best orthopedic hospitals in the country
What is the Achilles tendon repair procedure?
Surgical repair of the Achilles tendon is done through an incision in the back of the calf. A ruptured tendon is stitched back together. A tendon that has degenerated may be repaired by removing and stitching tissue as needed based on the degree of breakdown that has occurred. Sometimes, the tendon has to be replaced with another tendon taken from someplace else in the foot.
When possible, surgeons attempt to perform Achilles tendon repair using minimally invasive techniques, including small incisions rather than one larger one. This can be achieved by using a scope, a flexible tube with a camera on its tip. The procedure may involve regional anesthesia, known as spinal anesthesia, which blocks sensations from the waist down. Patients are also often given sedation to achieve light sleep throughout their surgery. Vital signs are monitored by a healthcare provider until the anesthesia wears off after surgery.
What is the recovery like after Achilles tendon repair?
It is vital that the Achilles tendon is protected from any disruption as it heals. Patients can expect to wear a walking boot or cast for 6 to 12 weeks following their procedure. This holds the toes in a downward position to prevent the tightening of the repaired tendon. The foot is gradually adjusted over time to reach a neutral position in which the tendon is slightly stretched.
Patients cannot put weight on the leg that has been repaired. This is prevented by using some type of assisted device, such as crutches. The doctor will discuss how long the patient must avoid weight-bearing during their follow-up after surgery.
Will physical therapy be required after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Yes. Physical therapy is an important aspect of post-surgical recovery after Achilles tendon repair. Physical therapy may consist of several different techniques, including stretching and strengthening, ultrasound heat therapy deep massage, and more. Each technique works to improve circulation to the recovering tendon and promote optimal strength and mobility as the tissue heals. How long a patient will need to participate in physical therapy is dependent on the severity of their injury, the type of treatment they have had done, their medical history, and their level of dedication to their rehabilitation program.
How long until I can return to my normal activities after my Achilles tendon repair?
Depending on the extent of the injury and the type of treatment that has been done, patients may be able to put weight on their affected leg after a few weeks of recovery and physical therapy. However, it takes several months to regain full use of the leg and ankle after Achilles tendon repair.
Each patient’s return to normal activities is somewhat influenced by how quickly they regain strength and mobility through physical therapy. Sporting activities usually take 4 to 6 months to resume. After that point, it can still take up to 6 more months to be pain-free.
When Will I Likely be Able to Return to Physical Activity?
You will wear a boot for up to 12 weeks after your surgery to repair your Achilles tendon repair surgery. This is to protect the area and stabilize the repaired tissue. Another protective measure is to avoid putting weight on the tendon. This is achieved by using some form of assistance, such as crutches, a walker, or another device. While walking is necessary, your physical activity will be somewhat limited. You can expect an extended time away from sports. Patients are often cleared for more rigorous activity beginning gradually at six months after surgery. This can vary based on your surgical results, healing, and the type of activity the doctor clears you to do.
Is Achilles Tendon Surgery Painful?
You will not feel any pain during your procedure or immediately after. Your anesthesia will take care of that. As the anesthesia wears off, you can expect soreness or aching, tenderness, and other discomforts. You will be prescribed an appropriate pain medication to help you manage your post-surgical comfort level. Usually, comfort improves quite a bit in the first week after surgery. After that time, you may find that an over-the-counter pain reliever can sufficiently keep pain at bay.
After My Achilles Tendon Surgery, How Can I Ensure I don’t Reaggravate It?
As you recover from your Achilles tendon surgery, you can expect to engage in various forms of therapy to help the tissue heal optimally. Wearing the boot as directed is one way to avoid aggravation. You may also engage in physical therapy to help you manage proper posture and gait while you heal. Physical therapy will also focus on building strength and restoring full range of motion so you can gradually decrease your use of the boot and walking assistance. To avoid aggravating the Achilles tendon, you must simply follow your aftercare instructions and perform your physical therapy exercises as directed by your care team.
Will the Procedure Leave Noticeable Scarring?
You may have a scar that is several inches in length after surgery. This will run up the back of your calf from the ankle area. As the tissue heals, your scar may change colors and texture, gradually becoming smoother, flatter, and lighter over time. If you are concerned about having a noticeable scar, talk to your doctor about when you can start applying silicone sheets or other scar treatments.
What Activities Should I Avoid After Surgery?
Initially, after Achilles tendon repair, it is necessary to avoid too much range of motion and too much force on the ankle. Your foot movement will be limited by the boot that you must wear. This helps prevent accidental over-pronation of the foot. As you go through your physical therapy rehabilitation program after surgery, you will gradually increase the type and intensity of activities that you can and should do. At the end of your rehabilitation, you may be cleared to run, jump, and engage in most if not all of your normal activities, including sports. This is the objective of treatment; to get you back to your best life!
What are the risks of the Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Our patients can expect a full discussion of surgical risks during their consultation, once we determine the extent of repair they need. General risks associated with Achilles tendon repair include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Skin infection along the incision
- Side effects from medications needed after surgery
- Nerve damage
- Decreased range of motion
- Tendon strength is not what it was before the injury
- Repeat Achilles injury
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are interested in Achilles tendon repair surgery, visit Specialty Orthopaedics. Our New York orthopedic practice is home to a team of fellowship-trained orthopedists in a variety of specialty areas. We offer comprehensive treatment for musculoskeletal disorders in a caring and responsive clinical atmosphere. Give us a call at 914.686.0111 or fill out the form on this page to schedule your appointment today.