‘Percutaneous approach, the best way to repair Achilles tendon’
Achilles, the largest and strongest tendon, is a rope like band of fibrous tissue in the back of ankle that connects powerful calf muscles to heel bone. It suffers acute ruptures when engaged in sporting activities. This is basically a common sports injury especially in cricket and basketball and many players undergo open surgery on their ruptured Achillies.
Achilles tendon rupture symptoms and signs
A sudden and severe pain at the back of the ankle or calf, loud pop or snap sound, gap in tendon about 2 inches above heel bone, initial pain, swelling and stiffness followed by bruising and weakness are the common symptoms and signs of tendon rupture.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis of Achilles rupture is usually clinical, sometimes ultrasound or MRI is done for confirmation.
The use of minimally invasive orthopedic surgery (Arthroscopic) called the percutaneous approach is the best way to repair the strongest tendon in body. In percutaneous approach there is no incision or flap removal, instead requires tiny holes on the either sides of the calf muscle and can be sutured or stapled keeping tendon in place. The recovery for the percutaneous approach for torn tendon are few weeks and less complicated. It reduces skin complications to almost less than 1%. Patient can walk weight bearing within few days of surgery (less than 4 weeks).
Rest your footon platform, use ice packs, use of compressive elastic bandages can be done as first aid. Elderly males with a family history, obese patients, athletes, people with high blood pressure need to be careful as they are at risk of damaging Achilles.
(The author is a Senior Consultant – Orthopedics and Arthroscopy at Manipal Hospitals, HAL Old Airport Road, Bengaluru)