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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
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