The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous structure that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. It is necessary for activities such as walking, running, and jumping. Achilles tendon rupture may occur for a number of reasons including excessive activity, sudden activity after remaining sedentary, and the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics (especially in children). The rupture may present as a partial or complete tear, which causes sudden, intense pain in the heel and calf. Achilles tendon rupture almost always requires surgery and rehabilitation for the patient to recover fully. Fortunately for Houston area residents, K. Mathew Warnock, MD is a multilingual, board-certified orthopedic surgeon who has the expertise to perform these surgeries.
Achilles Tendon Rupture Repair
Repair of the Achilles tendon requires the tightening and re-alignment of the tendon through the use of methodical suturing. The goal is to securely close the tear and allow the body time to heal properly. Depending upon which technique is chosen, surgery will require one to three incisions in order to allow access to the damaged tissues. The following are the procedures provided by Dr. Warnock for tendon repair:
Achilles Tendon Rupture Repair with Arthrex® PARS System
This procedure begins with a surgical incision in the back of the lower leg near the tear. The top part of the Achilles tendon is grasped with a hemostat, and multiple sutures are inserted in a specific pattern with the help of a jig (surgical device). The jig is then removed, and the sutures are organized and stitched in a particular pattern. These steps are repeated with the lower part of the Achilles tendon in the same suture pattern. Both sets of sutures are securely tied together in a particular pattern to ensure that the tear is closed. The original incision is then sutured.
Achilles Midsubstance SpeedBridge™ Repair
This type of Achilles tendon repair begins similarly to the Arthrex® PARS System with sutures inserted in the upper part of the Achilles tendon via an incision in the back of the lower leg. Two small incisions are then made at the base of the tendon where it meets the heel bone. The incisions are drilled and tapped in preparation for the swivel lock. The sutures are passed through the lower part of the tendon with help from a lasso, and then the foot is positioned to approximate the tendon ends. The sutures are anchored into the prepared holes, resulting in a secure, knotless repair.
Achilles surgery recovery will require the patient to wear a cast or a walking boot for about six weeks. Once the cast or boot is removed, the patient may begin gradually rehabilitating the tendon by performing passive exercises. Several weeks later, more difficult exercises may be incorporated, followed by gait training exercises. The patient will likely be able to resume normal activities within four to six months.
Achilles tendon repair via surgery is recommended because of the low risk of tendon re-rupture (0-5%). Please call (281) 807-4380 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Warnock today.