What is the treatment for an Achilles tendon injury?
A proper warm-up routine involving calf-strengthening exercises can help prevent an Achilles tendon injury altogether. However, in the event of a mild Achilles tendon injury, non-surgical treatment alone may be sufficient in managing any symptoms. Recent studies suggest some patients may be candidates for treating a complete achilles tear with a functional rehabilitation protocol without surgery. Dr. Patel will make this decision after a discussion with the patient on a case-by-case basis. Some non-surgical treatment measures can include an ankle boot or cast, crutches, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
Patients that experience more complex or severe symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury may require surgical reconstruction of the Achilles tendon. Athletes and younger individuals also tend to favor surgical treatment for an Achilles tendon injury. Repair of the tendon can be performed through a minimally invasive or open surgical procedure. Occasionally, a tendon graft may need to be used for the repair. Dr. Ronak Mukesh Patel, orthopedic ankle doctor, treats patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area, who have experienced an Achilles tendon injury and are in need of surgical repair.
How is an Achilles tendon repair performed?
Dr. Patel typically performs an Achilles tendon repair as an outpatient procedure as the recovery does not warrant an overnight hospital stay. A nerve block may be administered as anesthesia for this procedure. Dr. Patel begins with an incision along the back of the ankle. Once the area of injury is identified, Dr. Patel excises and removes the damaged tendon. The remaining healthy tendon tissue is then sutured back together.
In some cases, the Achilles tendon may have retracted due to an extended period of time between the injury and surgical repair. In this instance, Dr. Patel will likely use a tendon graft harvested from either the patient (autograft) or donor tissue (allograft) to lengthen the retracted tendon or reconstruct it entirely. These tendon grafts are often sewn into the native tissue in an open surgical setting to improve the chances of a successful recovery.