So you ruptured your Achilles tendon. Maybe you were out playing tennis in Mason (near the site of the Cincinnati Masters) or—since, after all, it is winter—playing some pickup basketball indoors at the local gym. Then, you heard a pop, felt a stabbing pain, and now you’re looking at surgery to repair the damage and allow you to push off your foot again. What can you expect?
There are two primary types of surgery performed for Achilles tendon ruptures: open, and percutaneous. In open surgery, the doctor makes a large incision in the back of your leg and stitches the torn ends of the tendon back together, reinforcing with other tendons if necessary. Percuteaneous surgery is similar, except instead of a single incision, the doctor makes several smaller ones. The best procedure for you will depend on the location and extent of your injury, as well as your surgeon’s training and experience.
Unfortunately, post-surgery recovery can be slow. You should expect to spend anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months with the ankle immobilized (with the foot pointing downward) in a cast or walking boot. Slowly, the cast or boot will be adjusted to place the foot in a more neutral position.
When your doctor thinks you’re ready, you can begin some moderate weight-bearing activities, as well as begin a physical therapy program designed to gradually restore strength and mobility to your healing muscles and tendons. It’s important to carefully follow orders, as doing too much too soon can aggravate the injury.
Most people do eventually make a complete recovery and fully return to their former level of activity. However, it may take up to half a year (or longer) to get there. Be patient and don’t give up! Although the process may be slow, it’s worth it.
If you’ve experienced a painful Achilles tendon rupture, don’t delay and wait for the damage to worsen. Set up an appointment with Family Foot and Ankle Center today so we can get you back on your feet (and back on the field or court) as quickly, and with as few complications, as possible. Contact us through this website, or dial (513) 728-4800 (for Ohio residents) or (859) 282-1572 (in Kentucky).