A torn or ruptured Achilles tendon can be a serious injury that causes you to be sidelined from participating in sports until your foot has healed. A torn tendon can sometimes heal on its own with medical treatment such as wearing a cast, but in some cases, foot surgery is needed. Your podiatrist might recommend surgery if you're active in sports so the risk of further damage to your tendon is reduced. Here's an overview of having foot surgery to repair your Achilles tendon.
The Surgeon Stitches Your Tendon Together
Achilles tendon repair surgery is usually an outpatient surgery, so you'll probably go home the same day. However, you'll need assistance due to the anesthesia and since you won't be able to bear weight on your foot.
The surgeon can stitch your tendon together, or if necessary, the surgeon can graft a healthy donor tendon with yours. The surgeon may perform an open surgery which involves making an incision above your heel so the ends of the tendon can be located and stitched back together. Minimally invasive surgery that requires smaller incisions might be an alternative option.
When the surgery is complete, the doctor closes the incision with stitches and applies a bandage. A cast is then applied to your foot and lower leg to keep your foot still so the surgery can heal.
You Need To Stay Off Of Your Foot For Weeks
You'll need to find a way to stay mobile and have your mobility aids ready to use before you have surgery. You won't be able to bear weight on your foot for weeks, so you'll need to use crutches, a wheelchair, or a knee walker.
At your first follow-up appointment after surgery, the doctor removes your cast, examines the incision, and removes the stitches. The doctor may put another cast on or switch you to a more comfortable boot that you'll need to wear for a few more weeks.
Physical Therapy Helps Your Recovery
Your doctor will send you to a physical therapist at the appropriate time. Initially, your therapy sessions help you heal properly by preventing adhesions around the scar, helping with pain, reducing swelling, and maintaining range of motion. Eventually, you'll start exercises to strengthen your calf muscles, restore your balance, and normalize your gait.
A Full Recovery Could Take Months
Your podiatrist lets you know when you can resume your usual activities depending on the type of work you do, the foot that's involved, and how active you are in sports. It may be a few months before you can drive again, and you'll probably be able to drive sooner if your left foot had the surgery since you use your right foot for driving.
You might resume most of your usual activities within a few months, but it could be up to a year until you've fully recovered from the foot surgery. You may need to limit your participation in sports until your surgery has completely healed. For more information about foot surgery, contact a podiatrist.