Advances in Achilles Tendon Tear Repair

Advancement in Achilles Tendon Tear and Achilles Rupture Care

The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body but it is also the one that is most commonly injured.  In this article we discuss the anatomy of the Achilles tendon as well as give an overview on Achilles tendon ruptures.

Achilles Tendon Anatomy

The Achilles tendon is approximately 15 cm in length and is made up of a combination of fibers that are derived from two calf muscles which twist 90o and insert at the back of the calcaneus or heel bone.  The Achilles tendon gets its blood supply from 3 sources.  There is an area on the Achilles tendon approximately 2 to 6 cm above its insertion to the calcaneus that has poor circulation and is called the watershed region.  Due to the diminished blood supply, this is a common area for Achilles tendon lesions and ruptures.

Acute Achilles tendon ruptures

Achilles tendon ruptures occur most often in middle-aged men during athletic activities.  Patients with Achilles tendon ruptures often say that they felt a sudden pop or snap in their calf with subsequent weakness or difficulty with ambulation.  Some say they felt someone kicked them or hit them from behind but there is noone in the vicinity.  Patients may be able to walk with minor swelling and pain after a tear but have weakness.

Achilles Tendon Tear Exam

On examination, a palpable defect in the tendon can be felt and there is often an increase in upward movement of the ankle due to the lack of tension from the Achilles tendon.  A common test that is used to evaluate the integrity of the Achilles tendon is the Thompson calf-squeeze test.  Squeezing the calf muscles on the affected side will yield little to no movement in the ankle when compared to the unaffected side.

Imaging of Achilles Tendon Tears or Ruptures

MRI and ultrasound are often used to confirm the presence of an Achilles rupture and to evaluate the extent of the rupture.  The diagnosis of Achilles tendon ruptures, however, is based on clinical examination.  Imaging is often used for surgical planning or in cases in which there are equivocal examination findings.

Achilles Tendon Tear Surgical Advancements

Operative and nonoperative methods offered by foot and ankle doctors have shown favorable outcomes.  Generally with surgical repair, there have been reports that there is a decreased rate of re-rupturing the tendon, improved strength, improved ankle motion, better return to activities, and fewer complaints.

Operative treatment involves reapproximating the two ends of the ruptured tendon together using special suture techniques.  A repair can be augmented with a tendon transfer, or synthetic graft.  Rarely, the Achilles tendon may rupture at its insertion into the calcaneus.  In these cases, a tendon anchor may be used to reattach the Achilles to the bone.  The patient is then put in a non-weightbearing cast for 4 to 6 weeks followed by gradual weight bearing and physical therapy.

University Foot and Ankle Institute Achilles Tendon Tear Advancements

University Foot and Ankle Institute has performed extensive surgical research into the ideal treatment and rehabilitation of Achilles tendon tears and ruptures.  By using a very strong stitching material, often augmenting the tear with a tendon wrap, and getting a very strong repair of the tendon, rehabilitation and cast removed is done rapidly.  By not casting the patient for a long time, the Achilles does not lose as much strength and return to activity is quicker.  University Foot and Ankle Institute is proud to offer the latest advancements in the repair of Achilles tendon tears and Achilles ruptures.

Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS

Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS

Dr. Bob Baravarian is a Board Certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist. He is currently a member of UCLA Medical Group, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica/UCLA medical center and Orthopedic Hospital and an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. He also serves as co-director of University Foot and Ankle Institute. He is Editor Emeritus of the international medical journal, Foot and Ankle Specialist.

Dr. Baravarian been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),

Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS

2 comments

  1. I think this info is the best I’ve ever seen in a medical practice. Thank you a lot for sharing this interesting topic, at least for me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Over 200,000 happy UFAI patients and growing
  • CustomerSure
    Everyone is nice & friendly, which helps a lot. Also they do great work!
    Hannah C.
  • CustomerSure
    Excellent service. Dr. Bob is fantastic!
    Dana M.
  • CustomerSure
    I've had two Lapidus Bunionectomy surgeries (one for each foot) by Dr Baravarian and I'm thrilled with the results. My bunions were extreme and required extreme expert measures to correct them. Dr. Baravarian is one o...
    Ryan
  • CustomerSure
    Very helpful that my doctor plays hockey since I had a hockey injury!
    Kristina W.
  • Thank you for all your care and support. After 5 years of pain, you took care of things permanently for me. I can't tell you what a joy it is to be able to walk or simply pick up my kid and not be in pain. I'm foreve...
    Miriam
  • CustomerSure
    Exceptional care! The therapist really pays you personal attention. Something I especially liked was being asked my expectations for physical therapy at the onset of the treatment.
    Benji M.
  • Yelp
    So fortunate to have found Dr Franson. I was treated by him last year for a torn achilles tendon, and today my daughter was treated by him. She's pregnant and he was very attentive to her concerns about treatment for ...
    S.K.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Brayton Campbell is a very knowledgeable podiatrist.  It is obvious he cares about his patients to make sure we receive the right care.  I am very glad I have him as my podiatrist!
    Carole K.
  • CustomerSure
    Your institute is one of the best!
    Hana A.
  • CustomerSure
    I have already recommended Dr Baravarian to my friend Lynn. Thank you so much. Great staff is everything, and you were awesome and sweet!
    Debbie T.
Same Day Appointments
Now Available!

Or call 877-989-9110

24 hours a day, 7 days a week