Achilles Tendon Surgery: Post-Operative Care For Accelerated Recovery

March 30, 2024
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Your Achilles tendon is important for walking, jumping, and running. If it gets injured, it can make these activities difficult. Treatment for a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon might involve surgery to repair the damage and make it strong again.

What Is Achilles Tendon Restoration?

When you experience an Achilles tear, you might need surgery to fix it or be able to heal without surgery. Your doctor will discuss both options and help you choose the best one based on your symptoms and activity level.

If the torn ends of the tendon are close together, you might not need surgery. Instead, you will wear a cast or brace for a few weeks to let it heal.

What If I Avoid the Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery?

Deciding not to have Achilles repair surgery raises the risk of the tendon tearing again, and it might not be as strong as before. If you go for non-surgical treatment, it’s important to catch the injury early and put your ankle in the right position to heal. Then, you must carefully follow a specific rehab plan for it to work well.

How Is Surgical Achilles Tendon Repair Performed?

Depending on your specific situation, your anesthesia for Achilles tendon repair surgery might include light sedation along with regional or local anesthesia.

Your surgeon will make an incision at the back of your ankle, either a few inches long for open repair or less than an inch for percutaneous repair. They will sew the torn tendon ends together with strong sutures.

They can also consider performing additional techniques to optimize the repair. A healthy tendon from your foot can be transferred to strengthen the repair if needed. After closing the incision and removing any surgical devices, your foot will be placed in a cast or brace before you leave the operating room or recovery area.

Post-Operative Recovery Tips

After Achilles tendon surgery, you can feel tired, swelling, numbness, and bruising around the incision area. This is normal and should improve in a few days.

  • Activity: Rest when tired, elevate your leg, and use crutches as advised. Shower carefully, avoid baths or swimming, and follow your doctor’s guidance for driving and returning to work.
  • Diet: Stick to your normal diet, but opt for bland, low-fat foods if your stomach is upset. Stay hydrated and consider fiber supplements to prevent constipation.
  • Medicines: Take prescribed medicines as directed, including painkillers and antibiotics if given. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding aspirin or blood thinners.
  • Incision Care: Keep the bandage clean and dry. Remove it as directed by your doctor, and leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off. Protect your splint or cast from moisture, and avoid placing anything between it and your skin.
  • Exercise: Stick to your rehab exercises to regain flexibility and prevent scar tissue.
  • Ice and Elevation: To reduce swelling, use ice as your doctor recommends. Elevate your leg above heart level when sitting or lying down.
  • Follow-up care: Attend all appointments and call your doctor if you experience persistent pain, numbness, weakness, or signs of infection or blood clot. Seek immediate help if you have chest pain, difficulty breathing, or other emergency symptoms.

Ending Note

While some individuals can opt for non-surgical treatment for sudden Achilles tears, surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon is generally successful, yields positive results, and poses minimal risks for people.

Visit Dr. Gombera at Mufaddal Gombera, MD, for a consultation to determine which option is right for you. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializes in sports medicine, arthroscopy, and treating shoulder, hip, and knee injuries. Dial (713) 794-3457 for appointment.

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Dr. Gombera

Dr. Gombera, earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan. Expanding his expertise, he undertook a sports medicine and arthroscopy fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago. Recognized as a Super Doctors Rising Star and honored for patient care excellence at the University of Michigan, he holds multiple certifications and licenses, solidifying his dedication to delivering exceptional medical services.

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