Achilles Tendon Surgery, Pittsburgh!
If you’ve had an Achilles rupture, or any tendon rupture, don’t despair, surgery usually has an excellent outcome!
It’s located on the back of the leg inserting into the foot bone (calcaneus). This is the tendon that points the foot down and allows you to go up on tiptoe.
What is an Achilles tendon rupture?
When the foot is forcibly dorsiflexed to the point it overcomes the strength of the tendon fibers, they begin to tear. this is called a partial tendon rupture. If force continues to be applied then the tendon goes on to completely rupture.
How do you fix an Achilles heel?
Once you get to the point of surgery, the repair itself is relatively simple. The frayed edges of the tear are cleaned up and then sewn back together with very strong suture. Care and attention are taken to make sure the correct amount of tension is on the tendon to allow maximum function and normal gait after the tendon repair.
A strict protocol is followed to regain function. Including a definitive time where no movement is allowed, then a careful stepped up program to return to normal activity.
Often an advanced treatment is used called ESWT to treat chronic Achilles tendoninjuries. If a patient has delayed treatment, or tried to heal their Achilles without surgery, but it did not heal, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy can be used to break up non-healing chronic scar tissue and inflammatory tissue. This is a 20 procedure done
How long does it take to recover from an Achilles injury? It depends on the extent of the injury, and the treatment chosen. Also hugely important, di the patient follow instructions? Did they rest, stretch, and do physical therapy all at the correct times?
Afterward Custom Orthotics are needed to stabilize the heel and neautralize the Subtalar Joint to help maintain normal gait and and raise the heel in cases where the tendon is slightly shortened. Especially in the beginning, Heel lifts are used to keep from putting too much tension on the surgical site, allowing it to heal completely.
We also have K-Laser to promote healing both preoperatively and postoperatively to all soft tissue and tendon injuries. Patient come in 1-2 times per week and the K-Laser is used to increase the ATP in the mitochondria of the cells, promoting the healing of the tissue.
How do you treat an Achilles tendon injury? Usually after a thorough history and physical exam, imaging studies will be ordered if indicated. An MRI shows the extent of soft tissue injuries. It will give information about the completeness of the tear, and how much of a gap is present, and if the edges have retracted, helping to determine the correct surgical procedure. It helps to determine if Primary repair is even possible ( which means the two ends can be sewn back together). If the Achilles tendon rupture is not torn all the way through, sometimes treatment can be as simple as immobilization in a cast boot, especially if the patient is not a good surgical candidate.
How long does it take to recover from a torn Achilles tendon? This depends on what percent of the tendon is torn through, what direction the tear goes, what level the damage is, and how old the injury is. That is why each patient gets an individualized treatment plan taking all these parameters into consideration.