Patient Guide: Achilles Tendon Rupture Surgery

Surgical repair is often best for active people, say orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists

ROSEMONT, Ill. (April 20, 2015) – When it comes to your feet and ankles, an Achilles tendon rupture is one of the most painful and debilitating injuries you can experience. The Achilles tendon, which is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, links the calf muscles to the heel bone. It provides the force needed to pull the heel up for walking or running.
While surgery is not the only way to treat an Achilles rupture, it is the most common. Surgery is often recommended for healthy, active people who play sports or have a job that requires standing most of the day.
Fortunately, repairing a ruptured Achilles can usually be done on an outpatient basis, say orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists. This means you have surgery and go home the same day. The surgery itself often takes less than an hour.
“There are different ways to repair an Achilles tendon rupture,” says John G. Anderson, MD, an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Each approach does essentially the same thing: it sews together the two ends of the ruptured tendon so it can heal. You and your specialist will discuss the best surgery for your injury.”
After surgery, patients typically wear a cast for a couple of weeks. Crutches must be used so no weight is put on the ankle. From two weeks to six weeks, patients may wear a walking boot and can put some weight on the ankle. At six weeks, most patients can put full weight on the ankle, and physical therapy is started to restore range of motion.
“Patients are usually able to return to full activity by six months,” says Anderson. “Successful surgery depends on several factors, including how soon your physical therapy starts after surgery and how well you follow your therapist’s instructions.”
To learn more about surgery for Achilles tendon rupture and see photos of a repair, visit the Achilles Tendon Rupture Surgery page at
About the AOFAS
The AOFAS promotes quality, ethical and cost-effective patient care through the education, research and training of orthopaedic surgeons and other health care providers. The Society creates public awareness for the prevention and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, provides leadership, and serves as a resource for government and industry as well as the national and international health care communities.​

About Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons use medical, physical and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery to treat patients of all ages. Relying on four years of medical school training, five years of post-graduate training and often a fellowship in orthopaedic foot and ankle care, orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons perform reconstructive procedures, treat sports injuries, and manage and treat trauma of the foot and ankle.

Jennifer Hicks
Director of Public Education
Office: 847-430-5079