Skip to main content
(212) 769-0066 Contact

Trust Your Feet to the Doctor that Broadway Dancers Trust!

Is Surgery Required for a Ruptured Achilles Tendon? New York, NY
woman feeling achilles heel pain

If you watch sports, you are most likely familiar with how serious a ruptured or torn Achilles tendon can be. A ruptured Achilles tendon is a significant injury that typically requires medical treatment and an extensive recovery period. Whether surgery is required depends on several factors, including the severity of the rupture, the patient’s activity level, and their personal preferences. There are various aspects to this injury and specific considerations regarding whether to choose surgical or non-surgical treatment options.

Achilles Tendon Rupture: The Basics

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. It plays a crucial role in walking, running, and jumping. A rupture of the Achilles tendon is a complete or partial tear of this strong, fibrous tissue and can occur suddenly, often during activities that involve forceful pushing off, such as sprinting or jumping.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Achilles Tendon Rupture

In some cases, especially for partial tears or less active individuals, non-surgical treatment may be considered. This approach typically involves a period of immobilization in a cast or walking boot to allow the torn ends of the tendon to heal together. Physical therapy is an essential component of non-surgical management to help regain strength and flexibility in the calf and ankle.

While non-surgical treatment may be effective for some, it comes with certain risks. The repaired tendon may be more prone to re-rupture, and there can be a lingering weakness or stiffness in the calf and ankle. Plus, recovery from a non-surgical approach can be longer and may not restore the tendon to its full pre-injury strength, which can be a concern for those who want to return to a high level of physical activity.

Surgical Intervention for Achilles Tendon Rupture

Achilles tendon surgery is often recommended for active individuals, athletes, or those with a full tear. Surgical repair is generally considered when the ends of the tendon are significantly separated, as the surgical approach helps to ensure a more accurate and precise reattachment. Surgical repair typically leads to a stronger, more reliable healing process. This can be especially important for athletes or individuals who want to maintain their pre-injury activity level.

After surgery, a strict rehabilitation protocol is followed, which includes progressive weight-bearing and physical therapy. Surgery doesn’t guarantee a quicker return to activity, as the recovery period is still a significant aspect of the process.

Patient Considerations

The decision to opt for surgery or non-surgical treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon often depends on several factors:

  • Activity Level: Individuals with a high level of physical activity, such as athletes, are more likely to choose surgical repair to regain strength and functionality more rapidly.
  • Age: Younger individuals may lean toward surgical repair, while older patients may consider non-surgical management if they have a less active lifestyle.
  • Medical History: Existing medical conditions or medications may influence the choice of treatment, as surgery carries its own set of risks.
  • Patient Preferences: Ultimately, the patient’s choice is a crucial factor. Some individuals may prioritize a quicker return to physical activity and are willing to undergo surgery, while others may prefer a more conservative approach.

Whether surgery is required for a ruptured Achilles tendon depends on various factors, including the extent of the injury, the patient’s activity level, and personal preferences. Surgical repair often leads to a stronger and more reliable healing process, especially for active individuals. However, non-surgical treatment can be effective for some, particularly those with partial tears or a less active lifestyle. Stuart J. Mogul, DPM, FACFAS is one of the top foot surgeons in the country and evaluates the specific circumstances and goals of each patient and provides personalized guidance on the best course of action for treatment and recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon. To schedule a consultation, contact his office in NYC to book your appointment.

Posted on behalf of Stuart J. Mogul DPM, FACFAS

1111 Park Avenue Suite 1B
New York, NY 10128

Phone: (212) 769-0066


Monday - Friday 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Patient Testimonials

Fabulous person and doctor. Very professional manner, skilled, knowledgeable and personable... what more can you ask for in your Doctor?! Her performed my surgery and I was confident then as I am now through my recovery.

- Samantha W.

Second surgery with dr mogul. Once in 2013 and one now (bunion surgery on different feet). Great doctor, friendly staff, personally checks in on you after surgery. Highly recommend. Hoping my right foot is as pain free as my left one was.

- Priya P.

Dr. Mogul is amazing. I was suffering from bunion pain for a few years, and now I am pain free. What an incredible difference it has made to the quality of my life! The surgery was stress free and his skilled and super nice office staff took care of all the details!

- Lisa L.