Achilles Rupture Repair
Achilles Tendon Anatomy
Tendons are the soft tissues connecting muscle to bone. The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body and is present behind the ankle, joining the calf muscles with the heel bone. Contraction of the calf muscles tightens the Achilles tendon and pulls the heel, enabling the foot and toe movements necessary for walking, running and jumping.
Achilles Tendon Injury
The Achilles tendon is often injured during sports activities, resulting in an inflammatory condition called tendonitis, which is characterized by swelling and pain. In some cases, severe injury results in a tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon, requiring immediate medical attention.
Treatment of Achilles Tendon Injury
The main objective of treatment is to restore the normal physiology of the Achilles tendon so you can perform your normal activities.
Immediately following a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon you should employ the R.I.C.E. method as follows:
- Rest the injured part.
- Ice packs should be applied at the site of injury to prevent swelling.
- Compress the injured area to prevent swelling.
- Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
Treatment of a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon includes non-surgical or surgical methods. Non-surgical methods involve casting the injured area for six weeks for the ruptured tendon to reattach itself and heal. After removal of the cast, physical therapy is recommended to prevent stiffness and restore lost muscle tone.
Achilles Tendon Repair
Surgery may be recommended especially for competitive athletes, those who perform physical work, or in instances where the tendon re-ruptures. Your surgeon will stitch the torn tendon back together with strong sutures. Your surgeon may reinforce the Achilles tendon with other tendons depending on the extent of the tear. If the tendon has avulsed or pulled off the heel bone, your surgeon will reattach the tendon to the heel bone.
Complications of Achilles Tendon Repair
As with all surgical procedures, Achilles tendon repair may be associated with certain complications such as infection, bleeding, nerve injury and blood clots.