The Basics of Achilles Tendon Surgery

Achilles surgery

If your case of Achilles tendonitis is serious enough to require surgery, there are two main types of surgery options that you should consider. These are an open surgery, where a surgeon makes a singular large incision on the back of your leg. The other kind of surgery is the percutaneous surgery, which is where the surgeon makes several small incisions as opposed to one large one.

In either kind of surgery, the surgeon will sew the tendon back together through the newly-made incision. It is possibly that surgery is delayed for a week or so after the tendon ruptures. This gives time for the severe inflammation to subside.

In general, both open and percutaneous surgeries are successful. The differences between the two have to do with the rerupture rates and would complications involved. Although percutaneous surgery has commonly been viewed as having rerupture rates that are higher to open surgery, recent studies have shown that rerupture rates are close to 1% and 2% for open with percutaneous having a rate of 3.5% to 6.5%.

Between the two, open surgery is more likely than percutaneous surgery to result in wound healing problems. However, nerve damage is more likely with percutaneous. There are newer techniques for percutaneous surgery that have the ability to make damage to your nerves much less likely then older techniques that are used.

After surgery

Regardless of the surgery you just undertook, you should expect to wear a cast, walking boot, or some kind of related device for anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the recovery speed.

Directly after the surgery, you need to keep your cast or boot with your foot pointed downward while your tendon has time to heal. Gradually, the cast/boot is adjusted so that you keep your foot in the neutral position, neither pointing up or down.

A lot of health professionals recommend that you start movement and weight bearing exercises fairly early, before your cast or boot ever comes off.

For more information on treating achilles tendonitis without surgery, head over to our achilles tendonitis information page.

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