Achilles Tendon Surgery

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Achilles Tendon Surgery Overview

The Achilles tendon is a large band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). This tendon plays a critical role in ankle function by helping raise the heel off the ground when walking, running and performing athletic activities. The Achilles tendon can experience a partial or complete tear if stretched beyond its limits during sudden acceleration or pivoting and jumping movements. When the Achilles tendon is ruptured in a young active individual, surgical repair is generally recommended. Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic ankle surgeon in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area, specializes in surgical ruptured tendon treatment involving the Achilles tendon.

Achilles tendon ruptures are common among weekend warriors and middle-aged athletes involved in explosive and jumping activities. When the tendon is stressed beyond its normal limits, it can tear and result in a “popping” sensation followed by pain, swelling and difficulty walking.

Restoring Achilles tendon function is critical for activities of daily living and sports. The goal of Achilles tendon surgery is to reconnect the tendon in order to restore push-off strength.

Achilles repair is most commonly performed through an open technique, where Dr. Yau will create an incision on the back portion of the lower leg and suture the two ends of the ruptured tendon together. A minimally invasive technique can sometimes be used for favorable tear patterns.

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Rehabilitation and Recovery Following Achilles Tendon Surgery

After Achilles tendon repair, the patient will be placed in a splint and required to utilize crutches to protect the repair as it heals. Early joint motion will be allowed typically at 2 weeks if the wound is healed. Rehabilitation guidelines may vary based on injury severity. By 6 weeks, most patients will be walking without crutches. A physical therapy program will be initiated between 2-4 weeks after surgery to restore ankle range of motion and strength to the calf muscles.

Achilles Tendon Surgery Recovery Time

Many patients are able to return to daily activities by 2 to 3 months and sports around 6-8 months.  However, some patients may take up to a year to reach full recovery following Achilles tendon repair.

For more resources on Achilles tendon surgery, or to determine if you are a candidate for surgical ruptured tendon treatment, please contact Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic ankle surgeon serving the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California areas.

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