Why you might need?
The Achilles tendon is the strong, fibrous cord in the lower leg connecting the muscles of your calf to your heel which helps you to walk, run and jump. When this tendon tears or ruptures, surgery is needed to fix the damaged tendon. The Achilles tendon can also degenerate, also known as tendinitis or tendinopathy which can cause pain and stiffness along your Achilles tendon and near your heel. Having short calf muscles can also increase the risk of tendinopathy.
Surgery on the Achilles tendon can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure with a small scope with small camera, whereby an incision is made at the back of the calf and the ruptured tendon stitched back together or if degenerated, the damaged part may be removed and repaired with stiches. If there is severe damage to parts of the tendon, the damaged parts may be replaced with tendon taken from another place in your foot. Other treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon may be advised including rest, using ice and pain medicines, a device to stop movement of the foot, or physical therapy.
Your consultant orthopaedic surgeon will make a small incision through the skin and muscle of your calf and then through the sheath that surrounds the tendon. The damaged tendon will be removed, or if ripped, will repair this part of the tendon with the strongest possible sutures so it can heal well. If there are any other repairs, the surgeon will ensure these are done at the same time before closing the layers of muscle and skin around your calf with sutures.
You will be sedated throughout your surgery, so you don’t feel anything. Whilst with all surgery there are complications, having surgery to fix a ruptured Achilles tendon means the tendon is less likely to rupture again. Your consultant will explain every option to you so you can decide what is best for you.
Your consultant will provide you with all the relevant information before your procedure along with any preparation you may need to do in the days leading up to your surgery. It is important to tell your consultant about any medicines you may be taking, including any over the counter pain medicines such as paracetamol or aspirin.
You may need imaging tests before your surgery, including ultrasound, x-ray or an MRI.
Do not eat or drink 6 hours before you are due to have surgery otherwise your surgery may be delayed.
Please ensure you have a companion available to take you home after you leave OneWelbeck Orthopaedics.
With every surgery there are risks. With Achilles tendon repair surgery these include:
- Excess bleeding
- Nerve damage
- An infection
- A blood clot
- Problems with the wound healing process
- Weakness of the calf
- Anaesthesia complications
- Continued pain in the foot or ankle
Risks, as with any surgery may vary with age, the shape of the muscles and tendons in your foot and leg, your general health and wellbeing, and the type of surgery. Our leading expert orthopaedic consultants will be able to help with any concerns you may have.
After your operation, you will be watched by your dedicated nurse at OneWelbeck Orthopaedics for the few hours after your surgery. To stop your leg from moving, you will need to wear a cast or brace on your leg which will help the tendon to heal. Once you have seen your Consultant you will be able to go home the same day. You can start to do gentle exercise, and slowly start to get around which will help aid your recovery process and give you the best chance to recover fully.
Make sure you follow any advice given to you by your consultant orthopaedic surgeon including any advice on pain relief and wound dressing.