Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute

Achilles Rupture Surgery: What To Expect And How To Recover

Jun 29, 2023
Achilles Rupture Surgery: What To Expect And How To Recover
Imagine sprinting towards the game-winning moment when suddenly an overwhelming pain surges through your ankle, as if lightning struck you. Unfortunately, this agonizing scenario is all too common for those who experience an Achilles rupture.

Imagine sprinting towards the game-winning moment when suddenly an overwhelming pain surges through your ankle, as if lightning struck you. Unfortunately, this agonizing scenario is all too common for those who experience an Achilles rupture. Whether you’re athletically inclined or simply living out everyday life, recovering from Achilles rupture surgery can be intimidating, but worry not! 

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what to expect and help you bounce back swiftly and steadily on the road to recovery. So gear up, because it’s time to step confidently forward with the information you need to conquer Achilles rupture surgery like a champ!

What Is Achilles Rupture Surgery?

Achilles rupture surgery is a medical procedure done to repair a torn Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, and it is responsible for walking, running, and jumping. This injury is common among athletes who put too much stress on their feet or people who have an underlying condition that weakens their tendons.

There are two types of surgery used to repair torn Achilles tendons: open surgery and percutaneous surgery. Open surgery involves making an incision in the back of the ankle to reach the damaged tendons. Percutaneous surgery involves using a smaller incision and an endoscope to guide the surgeon’s tools. It allows for less scarring, fewer complications, and faster recovery times.

Both surgeries involve stitching together the torn edges of the Achilles tendon. Sutures or other materials may be used to hold the tendon in place so that it can heal properly. The surgeon may also need to remove any damaged tissue or bone spurs from around the area.

After the surgery, patients will need to be non-weight-bearing for several weeks. They may need crutches or a wheelchair to move around comfortably during this period. A cast or walking boot will be necessary for about six weeks, depending on how well the tendon heals.

Achilles Tendon Rupture Causes And Symptoms

Achilles ruptures commonly occur during sports activities that involve jumping, pivoting, and sudden stops, like basketball, tennis, or soccer. However, they can also happen as a result of trauma from falls or car accidents.

A loud pop or snap in the back of the leg is frequently present along with the injury. Patients may also experience sudden pain, swelling, and difficulty walking normally. In some cases, patients may feel like they have been kicked in the back of the ankle. The pain may eventually decrease over time, but it will not go away entirely without surgical intervention.

Achilles tendon ruptures tend to happen during repetitive-stress sports activities due to weakened tendon fibers that are unable to withstand force. This weakening process of the tendon could occur gradually over time due to age and daily wear and tear or be related to medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

Your Achilles tendon can be thought of as a rope with millions of small fibers integrated at its core to work together for strength and durability. With aging comes wear and tear, like the fraying threads of a rope; any sudden overstress exerted on it can result in these damaged fibers giving up under pressure.

Recovery Time And Expectations Post-Surgery

Recovery time and expectations after Achilles rupture surgery vary depending on the severity of the rupture, age, overall health, underlying health conditions, and lifestyle factors such as smoking. Typically, recovery time can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks before patients can resume normal activities. It is essential to follow your doctor’s instructions to promote optimal healing and limit complications.

In some cases, patients may experience fatigue, swelling, numbness, and bruising around the ankle and shin after surgery. This is a typical response to the trauma that occurs during surgery. Patients will need to wear a cast or walking boot for about 6 to 12 weeks after surgery to promote proper healing of the tendon.

However, it is critical to remember that every patient’s recovery process is unique. For instance, an athlete who relies heavily on their lower body for their sport will require more time than someone who leads a much more sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, your surgeon will evaluate your progress and provide personalized follow-up care according to how well you are recovering.

Pain management is crucial to achieving quick recovery times for Achilles rupture patients post-surgery. In many cases, doctors may prescribe painkillers such as opioids during the early stages of recovery. You should take these exactly as your surgeon has instructed. Failure to do so could lead to complications such as scar tissue and prolonged recovery times. However, some physicians may opt for other alternatives, such as steroids, to manage pain with promising results.

On the other hand, there are natural remedies that patients can use to minimize soreness and inflammation. These remedies include ice packs, rest, compression bandages, and elevation. It is best to consult with your healthcare professional before utilizing any of these home remedies. In some cases, especially where patients have concurrent medical conditions like illnesses or are undergoing drug treatment, these natural remedies could aggravate pre-existing health concerns.

As a comparison, recovery time post-surgery is much like recovering from a cold. The degree of severity of symptoms impacts how much rest and medication will be required to achieve optimal recovery speedily compared to a mild cold, where adequate hydration and multivitamins may be nearly sufficient. Similarly, a small partial rupture wound would heal much faster than a severe, complex injury.

Post-Op Care And Immobilization

Post-operative care after an Achilles rupture should start straight away after surgery to enhance healing and reduce complications. Taking steps early on can significantly impact your overall recovery time; hence, adhering to all instructions from your physician is crucial.

The first few days after surgery involve resting as much as possible and keeping the leg raised above heart level most of the time to minimize swelling at the incision site. Additionally, until their surgeon gives the all-clear, patients should avoid putting weight on the affected leg.

Additionally, patients require constant monitoring for scarring around the wound site, which can have detrimental impacts if not closely watched over. To immobilize the ankle during the initial stages of healing and later stages of recovery, doctors frequently use a plastic adhesive wrap or a plastered shoe box.

During this immobilization stage, patients should avoid submerging the wound in water such as rivers, pools, or hot tubs. When the doctor gives the all-clear, showering can typically resume 24 to 48 hours after surgery—but only if you take care to keep the incision dry.

Likewise, dining habits also have an impact on post-operation recovery processes beyond our direct control. However, patients should try to maintain a balanced diet and take care not to stress their gastrointestinal system while taking pain medication.

Monitoring For Scarring And Tissue Damage

After your Achilles rupture surgery, your podiatrist will closely monitor your incision site for any signs of scarring or tissue damage. During the operation, your surgeon will make an incision in your ankle to access the ruptured tendon. If the site is not monitored correctly, you may experience tissue damage that could affect your post-surgery recovery.

Post-surgery complications can arise if inadequate care is taken at the incision site. One of these complications is called tenosynovitis, which is inflammation around the tendon. This condition can occur when a joint capsule’s lubricating membrane becomes inflamed. As such, patients must monitor their incision site regularly and report any pain or stiffness in their ankle to their doctor immediately.

In addition to monitoring for tenosynovitis, there is also the possibility of developing hypertrophic scarring after Achilles rupture surgery. Hypertrophic scars happen when fibrous connective tissue forms over a wound, leading to swelling and thickening at the incision site. This can be uncomfortable and lead to limited mobility and function if left unattended.

Overall, monitoring for scarring and tissue damage after surgery is vital to ensuring proper healing and preventing further complications down the line. It’s essential to follow up with your podiatrist regularly and communicate any concerns about your wound or progress so they can adjust treatment accordingly.

How To Maximize Your Healing And Recovery

If you have recently undergone Achilles rupture surgery, you are probably eager to get back on your feet as soon as possible. While recovery can take some time, there are several things you can do to maximize your healing and speed up the process.

First and foremost, it is essential to follow your doctor’s instructions for post-operative care and rehabilitation exercises. Your surgeon will provide detailed guidelines to ensure that your tendon heals correctly and that you avoid re-injury. By sticking to these instructions, you’ll be able to regain function and mobility faster.

Another way to promote healing is by eating a healthy diet. Your body needs plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to heal damaged tissues. Focus on foods that are high in protein, like lean meats, eggs, nuts, and legumes. Also, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C, which is essential for collagen synthesis.

Some patients may also benefit from physical therapy or chiropractic adjustments during their recovery. These practices can help improve range of motion, increase blood flow, and reduce inflammation. However, not all doctors recommend these treatments immediately following surgery. Speak with your surgeon first before considering them.

Ruptured Achilles Treatment Solutions In Saratoga Springs, UT

At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute, we have the expertise to help you get back on your feet and achieve a successful recovery with prompt treatment. We have a dedicated team of professionals who specialize in foot and ankle treatment, including ruptured Achilles tendons. 

We are here to support you throughout the entire healing process, from accurate diagnosis to effective treatment and thorough rehabilitation. Seeking professional help promptly can make a positive difference. 

Contact us at 801-756-4200 today and take the first step towards regaining your mobility and enjoying your active lifestyle once again!