Spring is in the air! Soon the tennis season will be kicking off and you’ll be heading to your favorite court. You may think it won’t happen to you, but if you start playing before your muscles and tendons are in shape, you could end up hearing that pop at the back of your ankle that signals a ruptured Achilles.
This injury often happens while you are playing sports, and immediate treatment yields the best results. You start the process with Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation therapy and setting up an appointment at our office.
From that point, there are two paths to recovery. We can treat the rupture conservatively with a plaster cast that holds the foot pointing slightly downward. This method will take longer, and you won’t be able to start rehab until the cast comes off at about 8 weeks, but has fewer risks than surgery.
We can also repair the tendon surgically—the preferred treatment if you are younger and want to return to sports activities. This treatment has a lower rate of re-injury and a greater chance of regaining full strength and function. Surgery is followed with a cast and crutches for two weeks. Then we’ll switch you to a protective Achilles boot (brace) so you can begin your rehab.
We’ll advise you step by step through your recovery. Continue to elevate your leg to keep swelling down. We will show how and when to begin range of motion exercises, such as flexing and rotating your ankle, doing leg lifts and hamstring curls, and using a stationary bike.
Once the tendon has healed completely, we will start you on resistance exercises and stretches to strengthen and increase flexibility in the muscles and tendons. We’ll also guide your return to weight-bearing as the time is right.
Slow and gradual rehab will give the best outcome. Be sure to follow all of our instructions so you don’t reinjure the Achilles or slow down healing. Plan on 6 months after surgery and up to 9 months after conservative treatment until you can resume full activity. You can also plan on excellent results when you let the foot doctors at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center repair your ruptured Achilles and supervise your recovery. Call our Denver, CO area offices today at (303) 423-2520 and we’ll start you on the road back to full activity. You can also set up an appointment online.