Achilles and Calf Injuries: These injuries are very common because between 25-40 years of age the Achilles tendon experiences a decrease in blood supply, which makes this area of the tendon weaker. The achilles injury occurs a couple of inches above its attachment into the heel bone or at the heel bone itself. The fibers can partially tear or completely tear. Depending on how partially torn the tendon is determines if conservative or surgical treatment is recommended. In a completely torn achilles tendon, surgery is usually recommended to repair the injury. The initial recovery time for most achilles injuries are 4-6 weeks of immobilization after the injury or surgery. Then the rehabilitation begins. For the sprain-strain the rehabilitation can be 4-8 weeks. For the partially torn achilles tendon the rehabilitation can be 8-16 weeks. For the completely torn and or surgically repaired achilles tendon the rehabilitation can be 6 months to 1 year. With any type of major tendon injury (partial or complete tear) there is usually up to a 20% loss of strength. To get the strength back to near pre injury strength, one would have to work the tendon during rehabilitation 20% more than the uninvolved side to get the strength equal in both legs.
Surgery of the Achilles usually involves reattaching the two ruptured ends. There are various techniques to accomplish the repair. Also utilizing grafts to reinforce the repair. There are several potential complications with surgical repair of the Achilles tendon consisting of but not limited to rerupture, surgical site/skin not healing, weakness, stiffness and the need for additional surgeries to address complications.
Calf injuries usually involve the medial head of the gastrocsoleus muscle belly near the myotendinous junction. Usually these require 3-4 weeks of immobilization followed by 4-8 weeks of rehabilitation. Usual return to full and usual activities between 8-12 weeks. Common complications with this injury is a hematoma, which is a collection of dried blood within the muscle. Often surgical removal of the hematoma is recommended to assist with healing.