Achilles Tendon Tear & Repair
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The Achilles tendon is the most powerful tendon in the human body. Tendons are strong tissues that connect muscles to bone. The Achilles tendon is located in the lower back part of the leg and works with the calf muscles to provide forceful foot movements.
For individuals with active lifestyles and who want to return to strenuous recreational activities, physicians recommend surgery to reattach the torn Achilles tendon. Surgery is generally very effective and the risk of complication is typically low. The surgery will require anesthesia, but is usually performed on an out-patient basis.
During surgery, the surgeon makes a three to four inch opening behind the ankle and reattaches the tendon ends to each other or to the bone. The foot is placed in a pointed position in a splint or short leg cast. The splint or cast is worn for four to six weeks. You will participate in physical therapy when the healing is complete.
Individuals with surgical and non-surgical repair have good to excellent rates of returning to full activity levels with proper treatment and rehabilitation. The length of time for healing is highly variable.
Generally, individuals with surgical repair can return to walking and swimming at six weeks, and gradually return to sports several months from the surgery. They have a lower risk of repeated tendon rupture and a better chance of regaining full strength in the leg.
Individuals with non-surgical repair will often participate in rehabilitation for a longer period of time. They have a higher risk of repeated tendon rupture and loss of strength.
Am I at Risk
Achilles tendon ruptures most commonly occur in men between the ages of 30 and 50 years old that participate in sports. People with Achilles tendonitis are susceptible to tendon rupture.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.