CALL NOW FOR AN APPOINTMENT 425.656.5060

Online Appointment Requests

For convenient scheduling, request an appointment online.

Road to Recovery: Richard Sherman’s Achilles Injury

By Proliance Orthopedic Associates on

The recent Achilles tendon injury of Richard Sherman, a Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl cornerback, highlights a relatively common injury seen in professional and recreational athletes alike. Unfortunately, Achilles tendon ruptures are significant injuries that disconnect the powerful calf muscles from the heel bone in the foot. Achilles ruptures require timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment by a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon to provide the best chance for return to normal functional and recreational activities.

Achilles tendon ruptures are most commonly seen in recreational athletes in their thirties and forties, although can occur at any age. They tend to be more common in men than women, generally occur during sporting activities, particularly ball and racquet sports. The classic presentation involves the feeling of a sudden snap or pop in the lower calf associated with severe pain and inability to walk normally. Often patients report feeling like they were kicked, shot or cut in the back of the leg although there generally is no direct contact. There generally is swelling and tenderness over the Achilles region. Patients often are still able to move the foot up and down using accessory muscles. However, with an Achilles rupture there is a notable inability to push off the ball of the foot when walking. Any of these signs or symptoms requires prompt evaluation to ensure that the appropriate diagnosis is made and a potentially serious Achilles injury is not missed.

Achilles tendon ruptures can be treated both with surgical repair and non-surgical casting and bracing. Those best suited for surgical repair include healthy, active individuals who want to return to activities such as hiking, jogging, biking and other sports. Surgical repair generally results in a lower rate of re-rupture and improved calf muscle strength by better restoring the Achilles tendon length. Non-surgical treatment is often for more sedentary individuals or for individuals not healthy enough to undergo surgery. The decision for surgery should be discussed with your foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon.

Surgical repair of the Achilles tendon typically occurs in an outpatient setting, meaning the patient has surgery and goes home the same day. The goal of surgery is to repair the two separated ends of the Achilles back together in the appropriate tension with strong suture. This is done through an incision over the Achilles on the lower part of the leg. This suture repair keeps the tendon ends from separating as the patient begins to rehabilitate from their injury.

Rehabilitation from an Achilles tendon rupture is a long process. Generally patients are not allowed to put weight on the leg anywhere from 4-6 weeks depending on the injury. This is followed by a gradual progression of motion, strengthening and weight bearing activities often under the guidance of a physical therapist. Ultimate return to maximum strength and function takes a long time with most studies showing improvements continuing well past a year after the injury. Unfortunately, Achilles tendon ruptures are season-ending injuries; however, prompt diagnosis and treatment by an orthopedic surgeon can allow a full return to recreational and sports activities.

The world-class orthopedic doctors on our foot and ankle team specialize in the prompt diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries of the lower leg, ankle and foot including ankle sprains and fractures, Achilles strains and ruptures, stress fractures and midfoot/forefoot injuries. If you have suffered a sports injury, contact us to get back to your active lifestyle as soon as possible!

Blog written by Erik J. Novak, M.D., Ph.D.

LOCATIONS

RENTON

4011 Talbot Rd S #300
Renton, WA 98055

Phone: 425.656.5060
Fax: 425.656.5047

COVINGTON

27005 168th Pl SE #201
Covington, WA 98042

Phone: 253.630.3660
Fax: 253.631.1591

Maple Valley

24060 SE Kent Kangley Rd,
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Phone: 425.358.7708
Fax: 425.656.5047

Latest POA News

  • Parking Updates at POA

    Valley Medical Center is celebrating a new era in patient care with their new medical office building set to house a comprehensive Cancer Center, an innovative surgical program and expanded access to specialists. During construction, lot parking parallel to Talbot Road (Lot A) will be greatly reduced for at least six months. In the meantime, the North …

  • Valley Medical Center Named #1 for Joint Replacement

    We are thrilled to announce that Valley Medical Center was recently named #1 in the state of Washington for joint replacement by CareChex Quality Rating System! CareChex produces their comprehensive evaluation of hospital excellence using a variety of metrics including quality, performance and safety analytics. As the first hospital with a dedicated joint replacement center …

  • Maintaining Your Health and Safety in the Workplace

    As an employee, we know that when you’re healthy, you’re happier and more productive. While some jobs, like construction, have obvious safety hazards, it isn’t wise to assume that if you clock time at a desk job you have nothing to worry about. Many professions go hand-in-hand with stress, sedentary behavior and other unhealthy habits …

Dr. Barrett's Blog

  • Managing Your Pain After Joint Replacement Surgery

    At POA, we use multimodal pain management for your joint replacement. This begins with preoperative medications given in the pre-op area, spinal anesthesia, and use of regional and local blocks about your hip or knee. Following your surgery pain is managed during your overnight stay by the nursing staff at the VMC joint center. This consists …

  • VMC Center for Joint Replacement: Recognition, Results and Future

    As we start 2018 we are proud of being ranked #1 for joint replacement in Washington State by CareChex Quality Rating System. They use a variety of quality metrics to achieve their rankings, including: quality, performance and safety analytics. As the first joint replacement center in the state, we continue to evolve our delivery of …

  • Evolution from Long Inpatient Stay to Short Outpatient Stay

    Over the last 30 years, I have seen the evolution of hip and knee replacement from a 1-week hospital stay to now, in 2017, 90% of our patients going home the day following their hip or knee replacement. This has been accomplished with a variety of factors including improved surgical techniques, multimodal pain management, enhanced …