I went into surgery for a torn Achilles tendon and came out with a numb foot. What in the world could cause this? Everyone at the hospital was very closed mouthed about it.
Altered sensibility of the skin is usually a sign of nerve impairment. Even with minimally invasive surgery, it is very difficult to miss cutting one or more of the tiny sensory nerves that supply the foot. This is the most common complications of surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Other complications include rerupture, skin infection, pain at the suture site, scar adhesion, and pneumonia or deep vein thrombosis (blood clot). Most of these complications are temporary. Once the patients recovers from early post-operative problems, healing and recovery are usually uneventful.
Rerupture was really the most difficult complication. It often requires another surgery and a delay in completing rehab. Even temporary nerve damage is minor compared to a second tendon tear. If your symptoms do not go away with a little time, let your surgeon know you are having this symptom.
Roderick Metz, MD, PhD., et al. Effect of Complications After Minimally Invasive Surgical Repair of Acute Achilles Tendon Ruptures. Report on 211 Cases. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. April 2011. Vol. 39. No. 4. Pp. 820-824.
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