NYU Langone doctors manage postsurgical healing, immobilization of the foot and ankle, and pain relief after Achilles injury surgery, while our physical therapists provide a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to help you recover. Full recovery from an Achilles injury and surgery may take nine months to a year.
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Immediately after surgery, you are fitted with a cast or splint to keep your foot and ankle immobilized as you heal. You also use crutches to help you avoid putting weight on your foot.
Your doctor may prescribe strong pain medications the first few days after your procedure, carefully supervising their use. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen can also be used to reduce inflammation and pain. Applying an ice pack and elevating your foot for 15 minutes 3 times a day also helps to manage discomfort and swelling.
About two to four weeks after surgery, your doctor removes the cast or splint, takes out your sutures and fits you with a controlled ankle-movement boot to help stabilize your Achilles tendon as you begin to put weight on your foot. Your doctor assesses your movement and flexibility every month for six to nine months as you participate in a rehabilitation program.
Physical and occupational therapists at NYU Langone Orthopedic Center offer accelerated rehabilitation programs for Achilles surgery—they include partial weight-bearing exercises starting at about 14 days after your procedure. You also learn calf, ankle, and foot stretching and strengthening exercises. Physical therapy sessions are typically two or three times a week for the first six weeks. Then they may occur less frequently or be moved to a home exercise program.
About two months after surgery, you can stop using your controlled ankle-movement boot and start walking without your crutches. Walking typically feels normal about three months after your procedure.
Your doctor determines when you are ready to ease back into sports and more strenuous exercise, although this typically happens about nine months after surgery. Rehabilitation specialists NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center can assess and refine your movements to help protect your Achilles against future injury.
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