A damaged Achilles tendon in your ankle might just need expertly administered noninvasive therapies to heal, but if the damage is severe, you could need Achilles repair surgery. If you damage your Achilles tendon, Ashvin K. Dewan, MD in Sugar Land, Texas, can help. Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dewan has considerable experience in performing Achilles repair surgery, including the use of grafts for the worst injuries. Call the office to discuss your condition or schedule a consultation online today.
Achilles Repair Q & A
Why would I need an Achilles repair?
You might need an Achilles repair if you damage your Achilles tendon and it won't heal using nonsurgical methods.
Your Achilles tendon is a large, tough connective tissue that runs up the back of your leg from your heel. It joins your calf muscle to your heel bone and enables you to walk, run, and jump.
The Achilles tendon is the largest of your tendons, and very strong. Under enough force, however, the tissues can tear, causing acute injury. Repetitive strain or overuse of the tendon can also create a series of tiny tears (tendinitis) that can lead to chronic Achilles tendon pain (tendinosis).
How are Achilles injuries treated?
Persistent, nonhealing cases of tendinosis might require Achilles repair. However, in most cases, these injuries heal using noninvasive approaches, including:
- Ice packs
- A brace to prevent foot movement
- A temporary cast
- Pain-relieving medication
- Physical therapy
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- Stem cell therapy
A ruptured Achilles tendon is more likely to require surgery to repair the damage.
What's involved in the Achilles repair procedure?
During surgery to repair an Achilles tendon, Dr. Dewan makes an incision in the back of your calf. He might be able to repair a ruptured tendon by sewing the severed ends together.
However, if there's tissue degeneration or extensive damage in the tendon, he might have to replace part or even all of the Achilles tendon with a graft. The graft is usually tissue taken from another part of your foot.
Wherever possible, Dr. Dewan uses minimally invasive techniques to carry out Achilles tendon repair. Rather than a single, long incision, minimally invasive surgery uses several small incisions and specialized tools that minimize tissue damage.
How long does it take to recover after Achilles repair?
The length of time it takes to recover after your Achilles repair surgery varies. It could be 6-12 months, depending on the extent of the repair and other factors such as your age and general health, and how closely you follow your rehabilitation program.
Dr. Dewan also uses regenerative medicine techniques like stem cell and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapies to accelerate and improve the healing process. Physical therapy is also vital for optimal recovery.
At first, you'll have your ankle in a splint and need to use crutches to prevent strain on the tendon. After around 10 days, the splint comes off and the stitches are removed. You might need to wear a cast or orthopedic boot while you build up strength in your ankle.
If you have Achilles tendon problems, contact Ashvin K. Dewan, MD for advanced treatment and expert Achilles repair surgery. Call the office or book an appointment online today.