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What is Achilles lengthening surgery?

Achilles lengthening surgery is when the Achilles tendon is lengthened through a surgical procedure. This is for people with a neurological problem causing spasticity in the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the main tendon in the calf. The surgery usually takes place within a single day so the patient would come into hospital on the day of the surgery and then go home on the same day. There are four different procedures that are usually used to lengthen the Achilles tendon and they are performed under general anaesthetic. A cast is needed for 4-6 weeks after surgery. The patient can walk with the cast on but a protective shoe/boot is needed to prevent damage to the cast. Physiotherapy is usually required for rehabilitation following the surgery.

How does Achilles lengthening surgery help?

Achilles lengthening surgery has the following benefits:
  • Lengthens the Achilles tendon to reduce tightness
  • Allows the foot to be dorsi-flexed (lifted up)
  • Reduces spasticity
  • Improves gait (walking)

Who benefits from Achilles lengthening surgery?

There are several conditions that can benefit from Achilles lengthening surgery. These include:
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Clubfoot
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Stroke
Achilles lengthening surgery can also be beneficial for people with the following problems:
  • Achilles contracture/spasticity
  • Foot drop

What are the benefits of physiotherapy for people who have had Achilles lengthening surgery?

Achilles lengthening surgery often needs a period of rehabilitation following the surgery. Physiotherapy is an important part of rehabilitation and has several benefits including:
  • Increasing range of movement in the Achilles tendon
  • Strengthening the Achilles tendon
  • Improving walking
  • Facilitating a return to everyday activities

What does physiotherapy involve for people who have had Achilles lengthening surgery?

The physiotherapist will use different treatments and techniques to rehabilitate an individual following Achilles lengthening surgery. These may include:
  • Scar management techniques
  • Range of movement exercises
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Advice on walking
  • Advice on everyday activities
  • Advice on long term management


The Achilles tendon is often shortened as a result of a neurological condition. This can be very restrictive and prevent the individual from walking properly or performing everyday activities. Achilles lengthening surgery lengthens the Achilles tendon through a surgical procedure. Physiotherapy is important in rehabilitation following surgery. Physiotherapy is initially focused on breaking down scar tissue and returning movement to the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is then strengthened and the individual is carefully monitored in returning to everyday activities.

For more information on Achilles lengthening surgery please contact us or call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800.

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Phone: 0330 088 7800
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