Understanding Achilles Tendon Repair Surgery

The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous cord in the back of your lower leg. It connects the calf muscles to your heel. It’s the largest tendon in your body. It helps you walk, run, and jump. Achilles tendon repair surgery is done to fix the damaged tendon.

Why is Achilles tendon repair surgery done?

The surgery may be done if you have a sudden tear or rupture. Or if you've had overuse, wear and tear, or injury from other conditions. This long-term injury is called tendonitis or tendinopathy.

How is Achilles tendon repair surgery done?

Repair of an Achilles tendon is done by an orthopedic surgeon. This is a surgeon who treats bone, muscle, joint, and tendon problems. The surgery can be done in several ways. The surgeon will make a cut (incision) through the skin and muscle in the back of your calf. If you have minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon will make several smaller incisions instead of one large one. Your surgeon will make an incision through the sheath or covering of the Achilles tendon. If the tendon is damaged, the surgeon may remove the damaged part and repair the rest of it. If you have severe damage, the surgeon may use a muscle or tendon from your calf, ankle, or foot for the repair.

What are the risks of Achilles tendon repair surgery?

Every surgery has risks. Risks of Achilles tendon repair include:

  • Bleeding

  • Nerve damage

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Wound healing problems

  • Calf weakness

  • Problems from anesthesia

  • Continued pain in your foot and ankle

Risks depend on factors such as your age, your overall health, and the type of surgery. They also depend on the shape of your foot, muscles, and tendons. Ask your surgeon which risks apply most to you. Talk with them about any concerns you have.

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