What do you do when you are diagnosed with an old (chronic) Achilles tendon rupture?Community Outreach
Mark Yakavonis, MD, MMS, is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Yakavonis has expertise in treating a variety of foot pain and deformity related conditions including Achilles tendonitis, ankle instability, cartilage injuries, bunions and hammer toes. His practice will also focus on youth athlete sports injuries and the types of injuries seen in field athletes, gymnasts and ballet dancers.
Achilles tendon ruptures will often not be discovered for months after the injury. In the months between injury and showing up at the doctor’s office, the torn tendon develops scar tissue which decreased the quality and elasticity of the tissue. Because of this, directly repairing the torn tendon, as is done in an acute injury, becomes is less than ideal. In this situation, we will supplement the tendon repair with a tendon transfer. Essentially, we borrow a tendon that bends the big toe (there is another tendon that compensates when it is borrowed), reroute it, and reattach it to the heel bone. This does two very important things:
1. It supplements the strength of the torn Achilles, allowing a quicker and better recovery.
2. It provides improved blood supply to the Achilles repair, providing healing factors to the area of diseased tendon.
In summary, ruptures of the Achilles tendon are increasingly common in our aging yet increasingly active population. In cases where an Achilles rupture is missed or the rupture cannot be repaired directly under normal tension, adding the flexor hallicus longus tendon transfer allows for significantly improved results with a shorter recovery.
If you suffer from foot and ankle pain and would like to attend a free seminar, Dr. Yakavonis of ONS is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgery, and Greenwich Hospital will present Solutions for Foot & Ankle Pain: Beyond Foot Massage . He will present treatments and surgical techniques for bunions and other foot deformities. Learn more and register online here.