Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

My husband is a middle-aged weekend warrior. He golfs, skis, plays handball, and any other sport that comes along. Last week he ruptured his Achilles tendon. He refuses to have surgery on it and says it will heal on its own. Is this reasonable? Or should I encourage him to have the operation?

Answer:

The calf muscle is a very large muscle with a thick, but narrow tendon attaching it to the heel. This is called the Achilles' tendon. The Achilles' tendon is the most commonly ruptured tendon in the body. Middle-aged, sports enthusiasts like your husband are the most likely people to suffer this injury.

Doctors report that this injury is on the rise, too. That's probably because more people are staying active and exercising more as they age into mid- and later life.

We don't know what the best treatment is for this problem. Some say surgery, others advise nonoperative care. Over the past 10 years, the pendulum has swung more toward surgery with earlier mobilization.

Without surgery, the patient can be given a special mobile cast to get them up and walking sooner than later. Although re-rupture is higher for people who don't have surgery, surgery is not without risks. Infections and wound problems can delay healing after surgery. Katarina Nilsson-Helander, MD, et al. The Achilles Tendon Total Rupture Score (ATRS). In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. March 2007. Vol. 35. No. 3. Pp. 421-426.

*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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