Imagine a bungee cord that has partially torn or completely snapped under stress. Now imagine trying to tape the ends of that bungee cord back together and to use it. Tape isn’t enough to repair the cord and make it functional again when the stretchy fibers are torn. Sometimes when your body’s own stretchy fibers—your tendons—are torn, conservative care is like using tape to fix the problem. A full tendon surgery may be the better solution.
Why Tendons Tear and Snap
Tendons are strong, flexible cords all through your body that attach your muscles to your bones, making movement possible. In general, they stretch when they relax and stay strong under stress. Enough force or overuse can weaken and damage them, though. Over time, overuse injuries that reoccur or are never fully healed make the tendons in your feet more likely to tear. The fibers grow too weak to handle strain. Even healthy connectors can rupture under enough pressure. A sudden stretch past their normal range of flexibility is all it takes. Chronic tendonitis and sports injuries are generally the most common culprits for a torn tendon.
Jumping into Surgery
Connective tissues don’t have great blood flow. This means they heal slowly and sometimes have trouble healing at all. Also, if a tendon is completely severed, the ends must be held together so they even have a chance to heal properly. Tendon surgery is a way to facilitate that repair. It’s usually reserved for serious injuries, like full ruptures, or chronic problems that aren’t responding to conservative care. It is, however, one of the best ways to treat the problem if you want to return to sports and other athletic activities later.
Performing the Procedure
How the procedure is done will depend partly on which tendon is damaged, to what extent, and how active you are. Dr. Brandon S. Percival, Dr. Julie A. Percival, and Dr. William Harris will carefully examine your lower limbs to identify the torn tissue and diagnose how serious it is. Our staff may use diagnostic images to get a clearer picture of the problem. Then we can move forward with the procedure.
Your lower limb will be numbed up so you can’t feel anything. Our expert team will then open up your foot with as small an incision as they can manage. The torn ends will be reattached so they can recover. Severe injuries might need tissue grafts. Then the wound is cleaned, closed, and bandaged.
Your Rehab and Return
It takes several weeks after the tendon surgery to recover. The incision will have to be kept clean and clear of infection. Once that has healed, you’ll be able to begin rehabilitating your foot. The recovering connector will need to regain its range of flexibility as well as rebuild some strength. This is especially important if you are active and want to return to sports. Physical therapy will work through your range of motion and rebuild your stability and foot power.
Tendon surgery is a big step, but it may be the best step for a full recovery for your foot. Don’t try to “tape up” a torn connector and call it good enough. Let Carolina Podiatry Group help you heal well. Reach out to our South Carolina offices for more information or an appointment before the painful problem gets worse. Call (803) 548-FEET for Indian Land, or (803) 285-1411 for Lancaster. You can also use our online contact form to reach us.