Percutaneous Achilles tendon lengthening may be done alone or with other procedures in order to improve the overall position of your foot. It is typically an outpatient procedure, and general or regional anesthesia is typically used.
It only takes a few minutes for your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon to perform this procedure. Your surgeon makes three small incisions at the back of the ankle along the Achilles tendon. They cut the tendon approximately 50% at each of these three
sites in an alternating pattern. The surgeon does this while an assistant is holding the ankle and stretching the tendon. The tendon stretches as the fibers are cut.
Healing time for tendons is approximately 6-8 weeks. You may be in a protective cast, splint, or walking boot initially while the tendon heals. Some soreness in the tendon during the first few months after surgery is common. Physical therapy and rehabilitation often are needed after the initial healing period to help with strength
and range of motion. Regular Achilles tendon stretching is recommended in the long term to maintain the benefits of the surgery.
Risks and Complications
All surgeries come with possible complications, including the risks associated with anesthesia, infection, damage to nerves and blood vessels, and bleeding or blood clots.
With a percutaneous Achilles tendon lengthening, complications are rare. Wound problems such as nonhealing incisions or infection can occur. The Achilles tendon can remain tight after surgery or re-tighten during the recovery period. It also is possible for the Achilles tendon to completely rupture (tear) during surgery or recovery. If the tendon completely ruptures, it is usually treated without surgery since the Achilles tendon is very good at healing itself.