What is Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Achilles tendon repair surgery is a type of surgery to fix a damaged Achilles tendon.
The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous cord in the lower leg. It connects the muscles of your calf to your heel. It’s the largest tendon in your body. It helps you walk, run, and jump.
In some cases, the Achilles tendon can tear, or rupture. This is usually due to a sudden, strong force. It can happen during tough physical activity. It can happen if you suddenly move faster or pivot on your foot. Having a foot that turns outward too much can increase your risk of a torn tendon. A ruptured Achilles tendon can cause pain and swelling near your heel. You may not be able to bend your foot downward.
During the surgery, an incision is made in the back of the calf. If the tendon is ruptured, the surgeon will stitch the tendon back together. If the tendon is degenerated, the surgeon may remove the damaged part of the tendon and repair the rest of the tendon with stitches. If there is severe damage to a lot of the tendon, the surgeon might replace part or all of your Achilles tendon. This is done with a tendon taken from another place in your foot.
In some cases, the Achilles tendon repair surgery can be done as a minimally invasive procedure. This is done with several small incisions instead of one large one. It may use a special scope with a tiny camera and a light to help do the repair.
Why might I need Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You might need Achilles tendon surgery if you tore your tendon. Surgery is advised for many cases of a ruptured Achilles tendon. But in some cases, your healthcare provider may advise other treatments first. These may include pain medicine, or a temporary cast to prevent your leg from moving. And your healthcare provider may not advise surgery if you have certain medical conditions. These include diabetes and neuropathy in your legs.
Or you may need Achilles tendon repair surgery if you have tendinopathy. But in most cases, other treatments can be used to treat tendinopathy. These include resting your foot, using ice and pain medicines, and using a brace or other device to stop your foot from moving. Physical therapy can also help. If you still have symptoms after several months, your healthcare provider might advise surgery.
Depending on the type of problem you have, Achilles tendon surgery might work for you. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of your choices.
What are the risks of Achilles tendon repair surgery?
- Excess bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Blood clot
- Wound healing problems
- Calf weakness
- Complications from anesthesia
- Continued pain in your foot and ankle
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