Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

Our daughter has been training for the state Special Olympics in gymnastics. After a bad fall off the balance beam, she ruptured her Achilles' tendon. The doctor thinks she'll be out the rest of the season. Will it really take that long to heal? This is awfully important to her.

Answer:

Standard surgical treatment for Achilles' rupture requires six to eight weeks in a short leg case. A full follow-up rehab program may take another four to six months. A long period of time immobilized is needed to avoid re-rupture of the healing tendon.

Some researchers are trying to modify the surgical technique. This along with changes in post-operative treatment may bring about a faster recovery time. These changes may help athletes like your daughter. High level and recreational athletes can return to sports sooner.

For example, different methods of suturing the Achilles' tendon have been reported. Adjusting the length of the repaired tendon is also being investigated. With these changes, patients have been able to exchange a short leg cast for a hinged brace. Weight-bearing as early as the second week is possible with the brace. This is compared to six to eight weeks in a cast before full weight-bearing is allowed. Eiji Uchiyama, MD, et al. A Modified Operation for Achilles Tendon ruptures. In The American Journal of Sprts Medicine. October 2007. Vol. 35. No.10. Pp. 1739-1743.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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