The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body. It is vitally important for walking and for any sporting activities. Achilles tendon problems are very common and range from tendinitis and tendinosis (inflammation and degeneration of the tendon itself) to ruptures of the tendon. Achilles tendinitis is caused by microtears in the Achilles tendon. This leads to a painful swelling and tenderness in the back just above the heel. The treatment of this often involves resting the Achilles tendon in a boot and sometimes we use platelet rich plasma to inject into the sheath tendon. Often, patients have a Haglund’s deformity which is a large bump at the base of the tendon as well. These patients most commonly require removal of the bump and a repair of the Achilles tendon.
Patients also have acute Achilles tendon rupture. This most commonly occurs during a sporting event such as a racquet sport or basketball. Patients feel a pop and often feel like someone has kicked them in the back of the leg. The treatment of an Achilles tendon rupture has been shown to be most successful with surgical treatment. Patients are more likely to return to their pre-rupture level if they have surgical intervention rather than a cast treatment. I perform both open procedures and minimally invasive procedures for Achilles tendon ruptures, and overall the majority of my patients return to all of their activities after Achilles tendon rupture.
This procedure is designed to treat problems with the Achilles tendon, such as chronic tendonitis or a short or contracted Achilles tendon. A series of cuts is created in the tendon to allow it to stretch and lengthen.