Achilles Tendon Rupture (cont.)
Surgery for Achilles Tendon Rupture
- Requires an operation to open the skin and physically suture (sew) the ends of the tendon back together
- Has a lower incidence of re-rupture than nonsurgical treatment
- Allows return to pre-injury activities sooner and at a higher level of functioning with less shrinkage of muscle
- Risks are associated with surgery: anesthesia, infection, skin breakdown, scarring, bleeding, accidental nerve injury, higher cost, and blood clots in the leg are possible after surgery.
- Surgery has been the treatment of choice for the competitive athlete or those with a high level of physical activity, for those with a delay in treatment or diagnosis, and for those whose tendons have ruptured again.
Other Therapy for Achilles Tendon Rupture
- Nonsurgical treatment involves extended casting, special braces, orthotics, and physical therapy.
- Avoids the normal complications and expenses of surgery.
- Some studies show the outcome is similar to surgery in regard to strength and function.
- There is risk of an over-lengthened tendon with inadequate tension.
- Extended immobilization can lead to more muscle weakness.
- Nonsurgical treatment has a higher incidence of re-rupture than surgical repair.
- Nonsurgical treatment is often used for nonathletes or for those with a general low level of physical activity who would not benefit from surgery. The elderly and those with complicating medical conditions should also consider conservative nonsurgical treatment.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Follow-up
- Consult with an orthopedic surgeon to determine treatment and rehabilitation.
- Participate in early consultation and regular visits with a physical therapist for range-of-motion and strengthening exercises.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2016
Christopher C Nannini, MD
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