Tendon Achilles Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 
Tendon Achilles FAQ section is intended to provide you with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Tendon Achilles and Tendon Achilles Surgery.
 
What is Tendon Achilles Surgery?

The surgery to treat an Achilles tendon rupture involves an incision along the back of the ankle. Usually the incision is made just to the side of midline so shoes will not rub on the site of the scar. The torn ends of the Achilles tendon are identified and strong sutures are placed in both ends of the tendon. These strong sutures are then tied together to repair the tendon.

 
Why is Tendon Achilles Surgery necessary?

Achilles tendon rupture is most often treated surgically to reattach the tendon to its normal position.

Non operative management can be undertaken, generally people who live sedentary lifestyles or who may have problems with wound healing. Non surgical treatment of an Achilles tendon rupture is accomplished by casting the Achilles tendon for several months. In these patients, the number of re ruptures is higher compared to those patients who have surgical repair. In patients who have surgery for an Achilles tendon rupture, less than 3% experience a rerupture of the tendon.

 
Is there Discharge Instructions for Tendon Achilles Surgery?
Patients will be provided a discharge instructions sheet provided by the surgeon that instructs patients on how to look after their wounds, what activities they should avoid, and which exercises they should do to aid in their recovery. At a follow-up visit the surgeon will inspect the incisions, remove sutures, and discuss the rehabilitation program.
 
How long does it take to Recover from Tendon Achilles Surgery?

Rehabilitation following Achilles tendon repair is a controversial topic. Traditionally, patients were casted after surgery for a period of 4 to 8 weeks and after that time, patients were allowed to gently move the ankle.

More recently, studies have shown that patients do well and heal faster with more rapid mobilization. If a solid repair is attainable, patients may not be casted at all, and allowed to begin motion immediately after surgery. These patients will use a removable boot when walking for several weeks.

 
What are the Possible Complications of Tendon Achilles Surgery?

The most common and worrisome complications following an Achilles tendon repair are problems with wound healing. The skin over the Achilles tendon sometimes does not heal well. Therefore, careful wound management is of utmost important following surgical repair of an Achilles tendon rupture. Other potential problems include infection, ankle stiffness, and rerupture of the tendon.

 
Should I expect a lot of Swelling after Tendon Achilles Surgery?

Some swelling is to be expected and it may actually increase gradually for the first two to three days. If the bandage feels tight you should re-apply it more lightly and elevate the leg to reduce the swelling.

Apply ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes every few hours may help to reduce the swelling and act as pain relief as required. If it persist contact your surgeon if you have any concerns.

 
How Important are Exercises for Tendon Achilles Surgery?
Exercises are very important, as most of the ankle's strength comes from the muscles surrounding it and not from the tendons or ligaments. You will not harm the ankle by doing strengthening exercises as recommended by your surgeon or physiotherapist. These should be performed according to directions.
 
Will I need Crutches after Tendon Achilles Surgery?
Weight bearing is not usually possible after tendon achilles surgery. Crutches or some form of weight support may be recommended by your surgeon depending on the operation. Once pain eases it is important to gradually increase weight bearing on the leg.
 
Are there any Sports that should be avoided following Tendon Achilles Surgery?
Any sport that involves significant weight-bearing stresses or twisting movements must be avoided until approved by your surgeon. Although cartilage and ligament repair often results in a near normal ankle, the ankle does have an increased likelihood of developing arthritis in the long term, so extreme weight-bearing activities need to be modified. Exercises that have less impact on ankles include swimming, cycling and walking.
 
Is there anything I can do long term to look after my Tendon Achilles?
Maintaining a normal body weight , low impact exercises and a healthy diet.
 
Will my ankle be stiff after Tendon Achilles Surgery?
It is important that you follow your surgeons instructions with regards to exercising the ankle to avoid complications of stiffness in the ankle. Exercises are very important, as most of the ankle's strength comes from the muscles surrounding it and not from the tendons or ligaments. You will not harm the ankle by doing strengthening exercises as recommended by your surgeon or physiotherapist. These should be performed according to directions.