How is an Achilles Tendon Rupture Treated?

A tear of the Achilles tendon is not an uncommon trauma in sports activity and could be very dramatic if it occurs, as the calf muscles and the attached Achilles tendon play such an necessary function. It is more likely to occur in explosive activities like tennis. The real issue is that the achilles tendon and the two muscles connected to it cross two joints (the knee as well as the ankle) and when both the joints are moving in opposite directions simultaneously, particularly if instantly (as can happen in tennis), then the chance of something failing is quite high. The treating of an achilles tendon rupture is a little controversial as there are two alternatives that most of the research shows have got very similar outcomes. One choice is conservative and the other is surgical. The conservative choice is usually putting the lower limb in cast that holds the foot pointing downwards slightly.

Usually it takes approximately six weeks to heel up and after the cast is removed, there should be a slow and gentle resumption of physical activity. Physical rehabilitation is often used to help with that. The operative choice is to surgically stitch the two edges of the tendon together again, this is followed by a period of time in a cast which is shorter compared to the conservative option, and is followed by a similar steady and slow resumption of activity. When longer term outcomes are compared the final outcome is generally about the same, but the surgical procedure has the added risk of surgical or anaesthetic complications that the conservative method doesn't have. The decision as to which method is best is going to have to be one dependent on the experiences of the doctor and the choices of the person with the rupture. There's a trend for competitive athletes to go along the surgical option because it is believed that this does give a improved short term outcome and get them back to the sports field more rapidly.

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