Physician speaks about recovery from Achilles tendon injury - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Physician speaks about recovery from Achilles tendon injury

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

The word "Achilles" means pain, and if you have ever injured your Achilles tendon, you would have first-hand knowledge of the severe type of pain it can bring.

A racquetball player knows this all too well. Mark Petruka was in the middle of a match when he blew out his Achilles tendon on November 30, 2015.

"Just as I planted my left foot it felt like someone hit the back of my heel with a baseball bat," said Petruka.

He said the pain was bad and people rushed in to help him.

"My foot was just kind of hanging there," explained Petruka.

"There are varying degrees of Achilles Tendonitis and it can be a simple Achilles Tendonitis, which can be treated non-operatively with anti-inflammatory's, rest, immobilization and a boot, sometimes physical therapy," said Dr. Matthew DeOrio. "At other times a more sudden event occurs where there is a sudden pop and the patients will almost feel like they've been shot in the back of the heel or that they've been hit in the back of the heel and that's where they rupture their Achilles tendon and a rupture can be a partial tear or it can be a complete tear."

That was Petruka's injury.  

One of the tools used in DeOrio's office is a weight bearing cat scan. It focuses primarily on the foot and ankle. That can be especially beneficial not only to the patient but to the doctor who is trying to decide how to treat them.

"So I can image the entire foot and ankle. I can shoot both at the same time which gives me a lot of information," said DeOrio.

"The way he reconnected my tendon, and fortified it. He put in a suture that will never dissolve," said Petruka. "This is a tough injury to recover from and the time period is generally about a year to get back to a hundred percent."

"I typically cast that for six weeks after surgery and that allows the soft tissue to heal enough.  Then we can get the patient into a boot. Get them walking and working with physical therapy," explained DeOrio.

DeOrio said Petruka is doing great and is progressing like he should be.

He said it's imperative that people get the injury evaluated by an experienced orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

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