With the BNP Paribas Open returning to Indian Wells next month and dozens of the world’s top male and female tennis pros in town for nearly two weeks, you may be itching to get out and work on your game. When you rush into strenuous activity your body isn’t used to, though—especially if you’ve reached middle age—it can lead to Achilles pain, perhaps from rupturing the tendon.
When it comes to repairing a ruptured tendon, there are two broad treatment options: surgical or nonsurgical. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
In the most likely surgical procedure, the surgeon reconnects the tendon via an incision at the back of the heel. If necessary, he or she may also reinforce the site with other tendons. Surgical repair will typically yield faster results than non-surgical treatment, with a shorter recovery phase. It may also produce slightly better overall results, or at least reduce the odds of re-injury, although some studies have shown virtually no difference in this respect. That said, it also comes with the risks common to any surgical procedure, including infection and nerve damage.
Nonsurgical treatment is the less invasive way to deal with Achilles pain and carries fewer complication risks, but the downside is that it takes time for the tendon to repair itself. The area will have to be immobilized using a cast or walking boot; when you’re ready to start walking again you may need wedge inserts in order to raise the heel.
The choice of treatment method will depend only partially on the severity of the damage. Other factors to consider include your lifestyle goals, as well as personal preferences. Generally speaking, surgical repair tends to be chosen by younger, more active people or those with a significant rupture, while nonsurgical methods are generally preferred by less active people or for more minor injuries.
Whether you’re looking at a surgical or noninvasive solution to your Achilles pain, Dr. Harvey Danciger, DPM, is here to help you get back on your feet. Give us a call at (760) 568-0108 or use our online contact form to set up an appointment at our Palm Desert office today.