Achilles Tendon Rupture
With an Achilles tendon rupture, surgical repair more reliably restores tendon length and muscle strength as well as lowers the risk of re-rupture.
Rupture of the Achilles tendon is usually quite a dramatic injury occurring most commonly during sporting events. Patients often feel and hear a loud audible pop. The injury is sometimes associated with pre-existing pathology or pain of the tendon but often there is no prior symptoms. The tendon is usually completely torn a few centimeters above the heel bone and the patient has inability to flex the foot towards the floor or raise up on the toes. It is common to have pain, bruising and swelling after the injury. It is important to visit with an orthopaedic surgeon as soon as possible after the injury to discuss treatment options.
Conservative or non-operative treatment may be considered after discussion with the patient. Usually this is more applicable in lower demand, older patients or patients with other significant medical problems. Younger, more active patients may elect to have the tendon surgically repaired. This more reliably restores the proper tendon length and muscle strength as well as a lower risk of re-rupture. After surgery, a boot or cast is worn for a variable amount of time usually averaging several months. Weight bearing on the injured leg is usually allowed. Physical therapy will be required post-operatively.