Treatment for a torn Achilles’ tendon is typically surgery. Surgery has been showing to increase the patient’s strength compared to non-surgical treatment. The risk of the tendon re-tearing after surgery is less. Patients’ power in the leg is greater when surgery is used to treat the torn Achilles. The non-surgerical treatment has a higher re-rupture rate and less chance of returning back to the strength of the affected leg.
Who’s is a Poor Surgical Candidate for Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery?
Poor surgical conditions for treatment of a torn Achilles’ tendon fall into two groups. These patients are diabetics and morbidity obese patients. Therefore these two groups have a much higher risk of infection and wound complications. Because of this, as orthopaedic surgeons, we typically recommend treatment in a cast for the diabetic and morbidly obese patient.
What is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles’ tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Secondly, it is a very superficial tendon. In addition, the achilles tendon is easy to palpate and see. Inflammation can occur in the tendon.
Who Tears Their Achilles Tendon?
Most commonly, men (85%) between the ages of 25-45 years old, tear their Achilles’ tendon. This most commonly occurs while playing sports, as shown in this video. The typical story is the man is playing basketball or tennis. While playing, they push off with their foot. In addition, they feel a pop. Because of injury, acute onset of pain occurs and its difficult to walk of the court or field . Within hours the area of the Achilles’ tendon swells.
How the Achilles Tear Diagnosed?
The most common way to diagnose an Achilles’ tendon tear is by physical examination. A defect in the tendon is felt by the healthcare provider. Placing the patient in a prone position makes it easiest to feel. The provider runs their finger down the tendon. There will be a palpable defect in the tendon. Thompson test is a physical exam To diagnosis an Achilles’ tendon tear. MRI scan is the best imaging study for documentation. See more info here.
Achilles Tendon Surgery
Achilles Tendon Surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgical procedure involves repairing the two ends of the torn tendon back together. There are many different techniques. The results are excellent in most patients. It takes 6-8 weeks for the tendon to heal. The rehab after the tendon to heal takes another 2-3 months. Above all, there is a very low re-rupture rate after surgery. Most patients will return back to the same types of sporting activities prior to the Achilles’ tendon tear.