Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

I had an Achilles' tendon rupture 12 weeks ago. It was treated surgically. Now I've reinjured myself. It looks like the tendon might have re-ruptured. What do I do now?

Answer:

Some tendons do have some ability to heal themselves. Many times patients with Achilles' tendon ruptures are put in a cast for a short time. They are given advice about limiting motion and weight-bearing until it heals fully.

Studies show that patients who have surgery to repair the tendon injury may recover faster. But is it because they had surgery or some other factor? Scientists from New Zealand my have that answer for us.

They compared patients with an acute (within 10 days) Achilles' tendon rupture. Half the patients had surgery. They wore a special brace afterwards. The other half were put in a different type of cast for a short time (without surgery first).

Both groups followed an early exercise program. Rehab was gradually progressed until full motion and strength was achieved. It turns out that the groups had equal results. The surgery group did not improve faster or better than the nonoperative group.

In cases where the surgically repaired tendon re-ruptured, a second or revision operation was advised. Early motion appears to be helpful for healing in tendon injuries. When repair is combined with motion, results are good to excellent for most patients. Bruce C. Twaddle, FRACS, and Peter Poon, FRACS. Early Motion for Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Is Surgery Important? In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. December 2007. Vol. 35. No. 12. Pp. 2033-2038.

*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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