What Happens?

PAIN

You will have had injections to numb your foot so that you are not in pain after the operation. This injection will wear off after 18-24 hours, so you must take regular painkillers so that you are not in severe pain when the injection wears off.

The pain will settle over a few weeks. You may see blood stains on the dressings. This is normal and not a cause for alarm. If blood is dripping from the dressings however, return to hospital.

SWELLING

The foot will be swollen as well as sore. You should keep the foot elevated as much as possible for the first two weeks. Keep walking down to a minimum - going to the toilet or for meals. Letting the leg hang down will cause the foot to become more swollen. Most of the swelling will settle within the first few months, but swelling can continue for up to one year.

If you are resting on your sofa, keep your foot elevated on the back rest or arm rest. If you are resting in bed, then place a few pillows under the foot to keep it elevated.

WALKING

You will normally be in a plastic boot for a total of seven weeks. You will be able to put your heel down to bear weight or balance immediately. The plastic boot has a series of wedges inside which keep the foot pointing down.

After two weeks, the stitches are removed. Full weight bearing is only allowed in the boot, which is taken off for exercises. After another week, the bottom wedge is removed and discarded. Every week, the bottom wedge is discarded until at seven weeks after the operation, there are no wedges left in the boot.

EXERCISES

It is important to keep the Achilles tendon moving while it recovers. However, it is important to avoid stretching the tendon as this could decrease the power of the muscle and even cause a further rupture. The foot points down after surgery in it’s natural position. The exercises consist of pointing the foot down from it’s natural position and then relaxing to allow it back to the natural position. In no way should the foot be forced back to the natural position and pointing the foot upwards risks snapping the tendon again. Seven weeks after surgery, you can wean yourself off the boot and start stretching the tendon by pointing the foot upwards again, under the supervision of your physiotherapist.

You will need a heel raise to wear for three months after the boot is removed.

RETURNING TO WORK

You will be in the plastic boot for seven weeks. I advise that you do not return to work until you can walk comfortably with crutches and the boot.   Remember that not everyone is the same, and some people take a longer time to recover from their surgery. Please request a sick note before you leave hospital, if you need one.

postoperative boot

wedges inside boot

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operation involvesAchilles_Tendinopathy_Surgery.html
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