The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It provides the majority of our “push-off” power. When this tendon is ruptured, surgical repair is recommended. Achilles tendon surgery is performed on an outpatient basis.
The surgical center will inform you when to arrive and how to prepare for surgery. On the day of your surgery the anesthesiologist will give you a regional anesthesia known as a Popliteal nerve block. You will be given medication to induce “twilight sleep,” then be placed on your stomach, and given a Novacaine-like medication around the nerve in the back of your leg. This gives complete pain relief that lasts for 12 to 36 hours. Patients report extraordinary satisfaction with this type of anesthesia.
During surgery you will be heavily sedated. An incision will be made along the back of the lower leg and heel. The tendon will be repaired with multiple sutures in order to draw the ends together and allow them to mend under the correct tension. The wounds will then be closed with staples.
Immediate Post-Operative Care
Once your anesthesiologist is satisfied that you have recovered you will be permitted to leave the surgical center. During your recovery time a family member may take your prescription to the nearest pharmacy. Take your narcotic pain control medications before falling asleep or as you feel the “numbing” effect wearing off. Remember post-operative pain is much easier to control with prevention. Call to schedule your first post-operative visit for 2 weeks after surgery when you feel able.
To schedule surgery, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-920-4333 ext 5. Please call if you have questions after surgery.
Post-Operative Course – Achilles Tendon Repair
This timeline is a general guideline. Your post-operative course may vary.
|Elevation||23 hours / day for 3 days; then keep elevated as needed. Swelling may last over 4 months.|
|Motion||Move your toes when the block resolves. This will decrease pain and swelling and improve healing. Begin ankle motion at 2 weeks.|
|Walking||Begin partial weight bearing at 2 weeks in the cast or fracture brace with 1” heel lift. If you are in the fracture brace, remove half an inch each week. After the tendon heals at 6 weeks, you may ease out of the boot and gradually resume a normal gait.|
|Bathing||Keep cast dry. Use a DryPro. There are no restrictions after the cast is removed|
|Dressing||After 2 weeks apply Ace Wrap and use the fracture brace until 6-8 weeks. Wean out of the brace by 8 weeks.|
|Pain Control||Expect to use strong narcotics for the first 3-5 days. Ease off as soon as you are comfortable using Tylenol or Motrin.|
|Work||Return depends on specific demands. It is safe to return to sedentary work at 10 days post-op. Return to heavy labor will take at least 3 months. Return to sprinting and heavy running will take 4-5 months.|
|Driving||Patients with left foot surgery may drive an automatic transmission. Patients with right foot surgery may drive with their left foot or wait until healing is adequate and they feel safe.|
|2 weeks||Cast and suture removal. Apply cast or fracture brace.|
|6 weeks||Begin transition from brace and start physical therapy.|
|3-4 months||Return for recheck. Minimal feelings of discomfort may linger, your overall comfort/strength level improves over a year.|
|**********||If at any time during your post-operative period you notice any drainage or foul odor from your incision, a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees and/or increased swelling or tenderness, you should contact our office.|
Before surgery, consider ordering a Full-leg Dry-Pro, a waterproof cast sock from our website’s online store: http://www.anklefootmd.com/onlinestore.php.
Visit our video center to watch rehab exercise videos that will help you recover after your surgery.