What is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel.  It provides plantar flexion (pointing the toes) and dorsiflexion (flexing the ankle up).

What are the Causes of Achilles Tendon Injury?

Common Causes

  • Explosive movement, such as a quick burst or sprint
  • Making a sudden stop
  • Landing from a jump
  • A traumatic injury

What are the Treatment Options for an Achilles Tendon Injury?

Surgical Treatment

Why do I need surgery?

A complete tear or rupture requires surgery to sew the tendon back together.  It will not heal on its own.

What does surgery entail?

This is an open procedure.  A mid-sized incision (about 4-5 inches) will be made on the back of the heel.  The torn/ ruptured injured will be identified and debrided to make the tendon as pristine as possible.  Then tendon will then be sewn back together, and/or fixated back down to its insertion to the calcaneous (heel bone).

How long will I stay in the hospital?

This surgery is typically done as ambulatory surgery, meaning you will go home the same day of surgery.

What are the possible risks and complications of surgery?

As with any surgery there is a risk of DVT, nerve damage, and postoperative infection.  Specific risks and complications include but aren’t limited to re-tear, post-op stiffness, and range of motion deficits.

Will I need to be on blood thinners after surgery?

Depending on your risks for developing a blood clot (i.e. age, past medical history, family history, use of hormonal contraception, smoking status), you may be required to take low dose 81mg Aspirin once daily for 6 weeks following the surgery to prevent blood clots. 

When can I drive?

You may not drive while taking pain medication.  In addition, if it is your right lower extremity that had surgery, you will not be able to drive for approximately 6 weeks after surgery or until the brace is removed.

When can I resume jogging?

You will not resume jogging until cleared by your physician.  This typically is around 6-9 months after surgery, depending on strength.

When can I return to my sport?

There are many factors in returning to sport after surgery.  Most patients are able to return around 7-9 months after surgery.  Please see Physical Therapy and Surgical FAQ for more information on this condition.

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