Achilles Tendon Rupture and Repair

The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It links the calf muscles to the heel bone. This muscle/tendon unit produces the majority of force that pushes the foot down during walking or running. Regaining Achilles tendon function after an injury is critical for walking.

Those best suited for surgical repair of an acute or chronic Achilles tendon rupture include healthy, active people who want to return to activities such as jogging, running, biking, etc. Even those who are less active may be candidates for surgical repair. Non-operative treatment may also be an option. The decision to operate should be discussed with your achilles tendon imageorthopedic surgeon.

The surgical repair of an acute or chronic rupture of the Achilles tendon typically occurs in an outpatient setting. Patients are then put to sleep and placed in a position that allows the surgeon access to the ruptured tendon. Repair of an acute rupture often takes somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour. Repair of a chronic rupture can take longer depending on the steps needed to fix the tendon.

After surgery, the patient is placed in a splint or cast from the toes to just below the knee. Typically the patient will not be allowed to walk or put weight on the involved leg. Patients are encouraged to keep the operated leg elevated above heart level to decrease swelling and pain.

From two weeks to six weeks, patients may be allowed to begin weight bearing in a walking boot. Ankle motion is often allowed and encouraged. A cast is sometimes used instead of a boot.

At six weeks patients are usually allowed full weight bearing out of the cast or boot. Patients are usually able to return to full activity by six months. It may be over a year before a patient achieves full recovery.

If you are considering repair of a ruptured Achilles tendon, contact Dr. Wesley Johnson. He can advise you of your options and help you choose the best treatment for your unique case.

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Recovering from Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Your recovery after knee arthroscopy will depend on what type of problem was treated, but generally recovery from simple arthroscopic surgery is usually much faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery or total knee replacement. Still, it is important to follow your orthopedic surgeon’s instructions carefully after you return home.

  • Keep your leg elevated as much as possible for the first few days after surgery.
  • Apply ice as recommended by your doctor to relieve swelling and pain.
  • Keep your incisions clean and dry. Your surgeon will tell you when you can shower or bathe, and when you should change the dressing.
  • Your surgeon will tell you when it is safe to put weight on your foot and leg.
  • Your doctor will discuss with you when you may drive. This decision is based on a number of factors, including:
    • The knee involved
    • Whether you drive an automatic or stick shift
    • The nature of the procedure
    • Your level of pain
    • Whether you are using narcotic pain medications
    • How well you can control your knee.

Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help relieve discomfort following your surgery. He or she may also recommend medication such as aspirin to arthroscopy imagelessen the risk of blood clots.

You should exercise your knee regularly for several weeks after surgery. This will restore motion and strengthen the muscles of your leg and knee.

Physical therapy is an important component of your recovery from knee arthroscopy. It helps to regain control of the leg muscles, wean you from crutches, regain full knee motion, and will hasten your return to normal activity. Once your knee is strong enough to bear some weight, the intensity of your physical therapy will increase. At this point, your physical therapy goals will be to regain full knee motion and to continue to strengthen the knee.

If you are considering knee surgery, contact Dr. Wesley Johnson. He can explain all of your surgical options and what is right for your unique case.

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