Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

My head is spinning. I just came back from my first appointment with the orthopedic surgeon for my foot. I tore my Achilles tendon playing soccer just yesterday. It looks like I will have to have surgery to repair it if I want to get back on the team. I looked at the list of possible complications from this surgery and thought, "no way" But my Mom says, "Yes way" if you want back on the team. Just how likely are these problems?

Answer:

Complications after surgery of any kind are a fact of life. Some are minor, others are more drastic. Studies following patients with Achilles tendon ruptures report the following most common complications to watch out for: nerve injury, rerupture of the healing Achilles tendon, skin infection, pain at the suture site, scar adhesion, and pneumonia. Deep wound infection is also a possibility but rather rare. Most of the complications are temporary. Once patients recover from their early post-operative problems, their healing and recovery is uneventful. Rerupture is really the most difficult complication. It can mean another surgery and a delay in completing rehab. Reruptures increase the chances of preventing sports athletes from returning to play two-fold -- in other words, it doubles the risk that they will have to quit sports. Some players will end up changing the sport they are involved in, a decision that could be potentially very disappointing for some. Others bide their time and are able to recover fully. 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.

*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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