Mercy's Dr. Patrick Maloney of The Institute for Foot & Ankle Reconstruction Discusses Achilles Tendon Ruptures
It was her regular workout at the gym. When all of a sudden snap! April Baer tore her Achilles tendon.
"I was just doing a circuit with the trainer. Then a snap and a fall back! I fell backwards," Baer said.
The tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. When it tore, she said pain shot up her calf and her foot was essentially just hanging there.
"You realize that something really bad has happened because you can't use your foot anymore," Baer said.
About 230,000 people injure their Achilles tendon every year in the U.S. and the numbers have been increasing. According to Mercy orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Pat Maloney, of The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction, that's likely due to the current fitness craze.
"The higher impact type of exercise lends itself to having Achilles injuries more often," Dr. Maloney said.
A tear like what Baer had is the most serious Achilles injury. Most people will have:
•The feeling of having been kicked in the calf
•Pain, possibly severe, with swelling near the heel
•An inability to bend the foot downward or stand on the injured leg
•A popping or snapping sound when it occurs.
Surgery is almost inevitable with a tear, what's key is getting medical help as soon as it happens.
"If it's ignored or missed and a month or two months or six months later somebody is walking kind of funny or they are weak with push off and then they get it evaluated it and it's a chronic tear is a lot harder technically to fix," Dr. Maloney said.
Fortunately, Baer sought medical help right away. Dr. Maloney used a special device to repair her tendon.
"This part goes inside the incision, that's why it's an inch wide. It goes up and these parts are on the outside of the skin and allows you to pass a needle and the stitch through and literally grasp the top end of the tendon," Dr. Maloney said.
Full recovery with physical therapy takes a little more than a year. Baer said she still has a little pain but she's back to about 85% and is working out.
"So, I would say my lifestyle is back to pretty much where I want it," Baer said.
View Mercy orthopedic surgeon Dr. Patrick Maloney’s interview regarding Achilles Tendon Ruptures, click here.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.