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Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery: What to Expect

Surgery is a last resort at Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists. We recommend surgical repair only in the most severe cases, and we always exhaust our nonsurgical options

But sometimes, the wise choice is to surgically repair your damaged Achilles tendon. 

When that’s the case, you should know that Dr. Maurice Aiken and our team are here for you every step of the way. Even the thought of surgery can be overwhelming, so we walk alongside you, answering every question and helping you know what to expect. 

A closer look at Achilles tendon repair

Achilles tendon repair is a relatively routine procedure. When you arrive, you dress in a surgical gown, and we record your vital signs. Dr. Aiken answers your last-minute questions and completes a final examination of your foot and ankle before we transfer you to the operating room. 

Sterilize the surgical site and administer the level of sedation that’s appropriate for your specific needs. Achilles tendon repair usually only requires light sedation, such as local anesthesia. More complicated procedures may require a regional or spinal block. 

Either way,  you can rest assured that you won’t feel anything while we work. 

Then, your surgery begins. Dr. Aiken has years of experience performing surgical repairs and takes great care to make careful, strategic incisions. 

Your incision will be several inches long, just to the side of the midline of your ankle, so your shoes won’t rub and irritate the scar later on. 

Once Dr. Aiken has access to your tendon, he carefully repairs it with strong sutures. As he completes your surgery, he closes the incision. 

Recovering from Achilles tendon repair

We cover the surgical site with bandages and surgical dressing. You’ll likely need a cast or a brace to stabilize your tendon as it heals from surgery. 

Many of our patients go home shortly after their procedure, but if we notice any swelling or bruising, we may ask you to stay overnight for observation. We send you home with detailed post-op instructions, including information about wound care, when it’s okay to bear weight, and when to see us for follow-up appointments. 

Expect to be out of commission for 3-4 weeks. While your foot is immobilized, you should enlist a friend or family member to help you with daily tasks such as appointments, grocery shopping, etc. You may also need to modify your living space to make it more accessible while you recover.

During your follow-up appointments, we remove your sutures, change your dressing, and give you directions on your next steps. 

Expect to fully recover after 6-9 months of diligent rehabilitation, which usually involves physical therapy. Over time, physical therapy exercises help you strengthen the muscles in your calf and foot, which enables you to regain your range of motion. 

Life after Achilles tendon repair

Everyone is at risk for an injury like an Achilles tendon tear, but you’re much more vulnerable after you’ve had an injury and surgery to repair it. 

So, we strongly encourage you to get back to your regular activities slowly, especially if you’re an athlete. We work with you and your physical therapist to help you transition back to optimal function and performance levels. 

Usually, that involves correcting your form, continuing strength training, cross-training, and ensuring you have the right shoes to support your feet and ankles. 

If you have more questions about your upcoming Achilles tendon repair, don’t hesitate to call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aiken at our Dunedin, Florida, office today.

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