We have thousands of tendons all over our body, all of which have different shapes and sizes, depending on where they are located. Due to how many tendons we have, there are a significant number of injuries and conditions that may affect their ability to function. Some common conditions that affect the tendons include:
For many of the above conditions, you will likely be able to treat your tendon injury with rest, NSAIDs, ice or heat, compression, physical therapy, or protective devices. However, for more chronic conditions, it may be necessary to undergo surgical intervention.
Types of Tendon Repair Procedures
In most cases, people will only need a tendon repair surgery if:
- The tendon was entirely severed
- A tear or injury due to rheumatoid arthritis
- The tendon was injured as a result of contact sports
Prior to deciding on surgery, your orthopedic specialist at Motion Orthopaedics will check for blood loss, signs of infection, and the presence of other injuries around the tendon. These factors will affect what type of surgery you receive to repair your tendon, whether minimally invasive or an open repair.
In most tendon repairs, you will have either general, regional, or local anesthesia while your surgeon sews your tendon back together. In more severe cases, your orthopedic specialist may have to perform a tendon graft, which is when a piece of one of your healthy tendons is used to replace the injured tendon. Some popular types of tendon repair procedures are:
Biceps Tendon Repair
Your biceps tendons attach the bicep muscles in your arm to the bones in your shoulder and elbow. The biceps tendon connects to the shoulder joint at two locations:
- Long head: the top of the shoulder socket
- Short head: the coracoid process in the shoulder blade
Tears to the biceps tendons may be complete or partial, and they almost exclusively occur at the long head attachment due to injury or overuse. In a biceps tendon repair, your orthopedic specialist will re-anchor the torn tendon back to the bone. Surgery is ideal for patients who require a full recovery of strength, such as competitive athletes or manual laborers.
Achilles Tendon Repair
The Achilles tendon is one of the most important tendons in our body and is responsible for connecting our calf muscles to our heel bones. By doing so, the Achilles tendon allows for plantar flexion of the foot, which lets us stand on our toes when walking, running, or jumping. Most often as a result of intense physical activity, a ruptured Achilles usually requires surgical intervention.
Although there are several different surgical techniques, the procedure involves replacing or repairing the torn tendon to restore function. Following an Achilles tendon repair, you will not be able to put any weight on the affected leg for at least six weeks.