Heel Pain and Limp in a Dog Owner Coughing Up Green Sputum

Anthony H. Woodward, MD


April 19, 2023

Achilles tendon rupture can be treated either conservatively or by surgical repair. No consensus exists on the preferred management. Surgical treatment with an open repair or a minimally invasive technique may be favored for younger persons who want to return to athletic activities. However, operative treatment may be followed by complications such as wound healing problems and nerve damage. Conservative management with immobilization and early weight bearing followed by rehabilitation has fewer complications during treatment but is later associated with a higher incidence of rerupture and tendon elongation. After either surgical or conservative treatment, high-quality rehabilitation is important. In this case, the patient's medical condition prompted the choice of conservative treatment.

The patient used her walking boot for 6 weeks. She attended physical therapy two or three times a week for 6 weeks. After that, she continued to perform exercises to maintain range of motion and to strengthen the lower leg muscles. Three months after the rupture, she was able to walk almost the same distance as she could before the tendon rupture but more slowly and with a mild limp. At the most recent follow-up visit, 6 months after the tendon rupture, the patient still had a mild limp, but she had no pain or swelling around the Achilles tendon.


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