Heel cord lengthening and toe pins, also known as the Achilles tendon lengthening surgery, is a medical procedure where, as the name clearly states, your Achilles tendon is lengthened surgically to improve your quality of walking. Even though it’s a minimally invasive procedure, it should only be done as a last resort, if all other treatment options fail.
Why Should You Have Heel Cord Lengthening and Toe Pins Surgery
Heel cord lengthening and toe pins surgery is a procedure needed in younger children that toe walk. Toe walking is a condition where a child walks by applying the majority of pressure and weight on the tip of the toes, never using the heel of the foot properly to distribute the weight of the body. The heel of the foot never even touches the ground while walking, as the Achilles tendon is so tightened up.
Heel cord lengthening surgery, or Achilles tendon lengthening procedure (ATL,) fixes that by stretching the Achilles tendon, allowing the patient to walk relying on the heel of their foot. In order to stretch the Achilles tendon, the surgeon will make a series of small cuts along the tendon, allowing it to elongate. As the incisions heal, the patient will be able to walk with feet flat on the ground, and without bending the knees.
This procedure has many benefits – not only will it allow the patient to walk normally, but there are also cosmetic benefits, and the procedure is also meant to get rid of chronic pain that comes with this condition. In some cases, even the tendons in the toe need to be stretched out and elongated, which is where the toe pins surgery comes into play. After the incisions have been made, the surgeon will place temporary pins into the toes to keep them in place, and they will be removed a few weeks after the procedure.
How to Prepare for the Procedure?
When undergoing this type of procedure, the good news is that there is no special preparation involved on your part. Your doctor will talk you through everything you need to know. Simply avoid taking certain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin, and other blood thinners. You should avoid smoking before your surgery, as it will slow down healing. Also, you should think about your recovery period and prepare yourself and your home for it. Make sure you will have someone helping you out for the first few weeks.
What Are the Risks and Complications of Heel Cord Lengthening and Toe Pins Surgery
Every operation has risks and potential complications, no matter how minimally invasive it is. If you decide to undergo ATL surgery, here are some potential risks you could be facing:
- Blood clots,
- Excessive bleeding,
- Nerve damage,
- Pain after surgery, and so on.
How Long Does the Recovery Last?
There is a certain recovery period with all procedures, and with this one – you can expect the recovery to last for around six or eight weeks. The tendon needs some time to rest and heal properly. However, some pain is normal and expected in the first few months after the surgery, so your feet will be completely healed in about three to six months.
Schedule Heel Cord Lengthening and Toe Pins Surgery With Your Doctor in Miami
Heel cord lengthening and toe pins surgery is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s a serious procedure that alters vital parts of the foot. That’s why you want to have someone reliable perform the procedure. So, contact us, and we will gladly answer any questions you may have before booking your appointment with the Luxe Foot Surgery clinic.
What Is Heel Cord Lengthening Procedure?
Heel cord lengthening procedure, also known as the Achilles tendon lengthening procedure, is a foot surgery that is meant to fix toe walking in children. The doctor will elongate the Achilles tendon by making a series of small incisions that will allow the tendon to elongate while healing.
What Are the Complications of TA Lengthening?
There are some standard complications of TA lengthening that include developing an infection, excessive bleeding, blood clots, pain, nerve damage, and so on.
Can I Lengthen My Achilles Tendon Without Surgery?
Surgery is always the last option, and there are many other treatment courses you can try before undergoing surgery, so consult your doctor on alternative methods.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Achilles Tendon Lengthening Surgery?
It takes anywhere between three and six months to recover fully from the ATL surgery.
- Gage JR, Schwartz M, Koop SE, Novacheck TF. Surgical Treatment of Cerebral Palsy: Heel Cord Lengthening and Toe Pinning. J Pediatr Orthop. 1987;7(5):541-545. doi: 10.1097/01241398-198709000-00011. Accessed March 14, 2023. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/pedorthopaedics/Abstract/1987/09000/Surgical_Treatment_of_Cerebral_Palsy__Heel_Cord.11.aspx.