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What Can I Expect After An Achilles Tendon Repair?

14 September 2021

An Achilles tendon repair is the reconnection of the ends of broken tendon so that you can use your foot again normally.

You may have torn your Achilles tendon running or jumping playing sport, or even from falling or tripping. Whatever the case may be, here is some useful information on what you can expect after an Achilles tendon repair.

How will I feel after surgery?

You will likely feel tired for several days and you may experience swelling in your lower leg and ankle – feel free to put ice on the area to reduce the swelling. Your incision will likely feel numb, with bruising showing around the shin and ankle. The good news is that this will likely pass and feel better, but swelling will take up to 6 weeks to resolve.

As you recover, your tendon will slowly get stronger – you will however need to wear a walking boot for six to twelve weeks after your Achilles tendon surgery. At first your foot will be pointed downward as the tendon heals, but you should be able to weight on the foot light;y in the boot from day of surgery.

The bad news is that it will be months before you have complete use of your leg and ankle. You will have to rebuild your strength with rehabilitation exercises and a rehab regime.  

When can I return to my sport?

You will not be able to return to your sport or sports for more than six months – but this is dependent on how well you follow your rehab regime and, most importantly, how well your Achilles tendon heals. Your doctor or physiotherapist will give you an idea of when you can return to your activities. Your gait (walk) take 6 months to fully recover.

How should I take care of myself?

  • Rest – If you feel tired then rest. Sleeping will help you recover.
  • Sleep with your leg raised – Keep your leg raised (such as on top of a pillow) as much as possible for the first few days after you have your Achilles tendon surgery.
  • Use crutches – You will need to wear a walking boot for 3 months after your Achilles tendon repair, but you can use crutches to move around the house to do daily tasks.
  • Sponge bath – Do not take a bath, swim, use a hot tub, or soak your leg until your doctor says it is okay (approx. 2 weekd post surgery).
  • Only shower once you get the go ahead – You may shower within 48 hours after surgery with waterproof dressing– if your doctor okays it. It might be best to get a shower stool to sit on.
  • Do not drive until you are ready – You can drive only when you can control your feet, no longer using crutches and no longer taking prescription pain medicine – this usually takes up to four to six weeks.
  • No Driving in Right Achilles tendon repair and wearing a boot.
  • If Left achilles tendon reapir may start driving an Automatic from 2 weeks.
  • Do not rush back to work – If you sit at work, you may be able to go back in 1 to 2 weeks. But if you are on your feet at work, it may take 6 to 8 weeks. If you are very physically active in your job, it may take 3 to 6 months.

Doctor Julian Lane is a lower limb orthopaedic specialist and is highly experienced Achilles tendon surgery. To get more information on an Achilles tendon repair, contact the friendly team at Lane Orthopaedic Surgery today on 07 3394 4228.

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