Member Case Study: Peroneal Tendon Surgery Rehabilitation

author : AMSSM
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The Doctor says a minimum of eight weeks before I'm back in the pool. I'm training for a HIM and wondering how quickly I can start running and what the recovery will be like.

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Member Question from mikfinne 

"I just found out that I need to have surgery on my peroneal tendon (sometime in January).The brevis tendon has an 1 1/2 inch tear in it. I'm told the hard cast will be for four to six weeks. My plan is to start running in the pool as soon as I can. The HIM that I'm training for is in September but there are some shorter races that I hope to participate in. The earliest is an Olympic in early June. The Dr says a minimum of eight weeks before I'm back in the pool.  I'm training for a HIM and wondering how quickly I can start running and what the recovery will be like."

Answer from Barry Kenneally
Member AMSSM

Peroneal tears are tough to treat without surgery.  After surgery, you have be gentle to allow for complete healing.  If you push rehab too fast, you can end up with a retear.  There are guidelines for return-to-play but a lot will also depend on the specifics of your injury and surgery, and the way your body heals.  Make sure you discuss the rehab in detail with your surgeon.  
 
Running and cutting are the end point of your rehab.  While you're working up to this, you may want to focus on biking and swimming.  Ask your surgeon about a Goretex cast that can get wet, allowing you to get in the pool sooner.  Waterproof cast covers are available but they can be cumbersome.
 
Eight weeks sounds about right for the pool running.  We usually have our patients start gentle physical therapy at 5-6 weeks.   Your foot will feel stiff and weak at this point.  Heat can be helpful before stretching and then ice after physical therapy.  If the stretching and strengthening go well, at 8 weeks you can do some pool running and light jogging on a treadmill (with your therapist's supervision).  At 11 weeks you could be running on land, but without any cutting or turning- that typically comes at 5-6 months.
 
Hopefully things will go well but you may have be a little flexible with your race schedule.  Everyone heals a little differently.  I know how hard it is to hold back when you're recovering from an injury, but it's important to listen to your body- you may not get the fastest result but you'll get the best result.  Good luck!

Barry Kenneally

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date: February 22, 2010

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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