The Achilles tendon is that band of tough connective tissue that connects your heel bone to your calf. Damage to the Achilles tendon can range from a strain that can be healed with a bit of rest and icing to a complete rupture. In that case, you might need Achilles tendon rupture surgery to stitch the tendon back together. You will also need therapy to regain the use of the affected leg. What sort of therapy is used after surgery?
One treatment after Achilles tendon rupture surgery is to put your leg in a cast. You can either be fitted with a weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing cast. With the former, your foot and your lower leg are padded and bandages before the cast is applied and you can put some weight on it. In a non-weight-bearing cast, you must stay off your affected foot for a period of time. This means you’ll need to wear crutches or use a walker. Interestingly, studies show that people in non-weight-bearing and weight-bearing casts heal at about the same rate.
Another treatment is to keep your ankle immobile for a few weeks with the aid of a walking boot. You will have your foot flexed downward while you wear this boot to help your tendon heal. You may need to wear this boot for as long as six weeks, depending on the extent of your injury.
Your doctor will recommend you to a physical therapist, who will draw up a regime of exercise for you to regain strength in your leg. For the first few weeks, your physical therapist may simply massage your calf. You might begin resistance exercise for your calf that don’t require you to move your joint or exercises for your hips and knees. You might start to use a stationary bicycle and do exercises that strengthen your core.
You should be able to walk with your boot without limping at around 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery. Then, the therapist may have you do:
- Single leg stands
- Normal walking with a 1/2 inch heel raise in your normal shoes. This is done about two months after your operation.
The therapist will test your ankle’s range of motion and have you perform light resistance exercises, calf raises and deep water running. You’ll still be using the stationary bike at medium intensity, and the therapist may have you work on a stepper and a cross-trainer.
After 10 weeks you should be able to walk normally as your Achilles tendon is healed. Still, the therapist will have you do exercises such as cross-over hops, straight knee and eccentric calf-drops, Frankenstein walks and exercises that involve your whole body, such as punch lunges, A-walks and jogs on a treadmill.
For More Information About Recovery From Achilles Tendon Surgery, Call Us
If you need Achilles tendon rupture surgery and post-operative therapy, schedule a consultation with our certified surgeons and physical medicine and rehab doctor at the Allen Therapy Center 972-359-1288. Contact us here!