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Did you know that the Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body? In fact, it can sustain up to 12.5 times your bodyweight in certain running activities. Despite its strength, it is still possible for this tendon to tear, or rupture, either by movements that require sudden stretching or sprinting or due to chronic wear, such as with long distance running. An Achilles tendon rupture is one of the most common injuries of the foot and ankle.
NBA legends Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers, Patrick Ewing of the NY Knicks, and Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks have torn their Achilles tendon during their careers, as have NFL stars including Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr. and Texans running back Arian Foster. Soccer star David Beckham tore his Achilles while on loan from LA Galaxy to A.C. Milan. This injury isn’t limited to athletes--former US Vice President Al Gore as well as actors Brad Pitt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have all experienced Achilles tears!
An Achilles tendon rupture can be treated by either a nonsurgical approach that involves complete rest of the ankle for several weeks or it can be treated by surgical intervention. The majority of patients choose Achilles tendon repair surgery since a nonsurgical approach can increase the chance of re-rupture and recovery can take longer. The decision is ultimately based on the recommendation of the orthopedic surgeon and the lifestyle of the patient.
Even though patients often choose to undergo Achilles tendon repair surgery, many people are concerned with the risk of significant scarring that comes with this type of major surgery. For this reason, below we are going to explain how to minimize scarring after your Achilles tendon repair surgery.
There are several ways to repair an Achilles tendon rupture. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, the most common method is an open repair. During an open repair, an incision is made on the back of the lower leg starting just above the heel bone. Then, the surgeon will locate the two ends of the ruptured tendon and sew them together with sutures. Lastly, the skin is closed with either stitches or staples.
Another method to repair an Achilles tendon rupture requires the surgeon to make a small incision on the back of the lower leg at the site of the rupture. Then, a series of needles with sutures attached are passed through the skin, Achilles tendon, and brought out through the small incision. The sutures are then tied together and the incision is closed with either stitches or staples.
A final method to repair an Achilles tendon rupture is called endoscopic-assisted percutaneous Achilles tendon repair. This approach is minimally invasive, which is appealing because it reduces the risk of pain and blood loss, and also has a faster recovery than the other types of surgery. Since the incision will be much smaller in this type of surgery, the scar will also be smaller. However, with any type of surgery there is a risk of scarring, which is why it is best to use scar treatment products in order to allow the wound to heal properly and to reduce, flatten, and fade any scar that forms.
NewGel+ products are all formulated with 100% medical grade silicone gel, the gold standard of topical non-invasive treatment options that is recommended by doctors, surgeons, and scar management experts.
Silicone gel heals scars by replicating the occlusive properties of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin). When your surgical incision is healing, the new, immature stratum corneum allows abnormally high levels of transepidermal water loss, which can lead to dehydration. The state of dehydration signals to various cells in the epidermis to synthesize and release collagen. Unfortunately, when the body produces too much collagen, the result is a raised, discolored scar. To prevent unwanted scar formation and to help your scar become as flat and soft as possible, it is recommended to begin treatment with silicone gel early, as soon as 10 to 14 days after your Achilles tendon repair surgery. Scars over the Achilles tendon can rub against shoes and cause irritation and pain if they become raised and thickened. NewGel+ products can also prevent serious scar contracture that can limit flexibility. This is especially important for athletes who need to run and jump when they return to training and playing their sport after recovery.
Want to know the best part about NewGel+ products? They aren’t one size fits all. Most products found in pharmacies are only a few inches long, and multiple sheets would have to be overlapped to cover longer scars. One box doesn't go very far! Our variety of lengths provide plenty of options for the coverage you need, and strips can be cut to fit whatever size scar you have after your Achilles tendon repair surgery.
August 6, 2017