Chances are that you’ve heard the stories about people who suddenly experience pain. But not only do they feel pain; they also hear a snap or popping sound, coming from one of their limbs. These cringe-worthy tales often describe tendon injuries - painful conditions that steal our mobility and leave us limping. From diseases to sports injuries, there are a number of potential causes behind tendon damage. But no matter the cause, the damage needs to be repaired. That’s where we can help.

Established in 2004, Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center is a local resource and care center for those affected by inflamed and injured tendons. Since 1987, Dr. Bowman has provided the latest in both nonsurgical and surgical orthopaedic treatment to those affected by joint disorders. From our cutting-edge electronic medical records to our use of the latest in imaging technology, our staff process and training puts the focus on providing consistent care to you that is 100% based on your symptoms and needs. So if you are struggling with a tendon injury, and this sounds like the care that you need, you're invited to contact us online or at (724) 933-3300. We look forward to working with you and helping you find relief!

 

FAQs on Tendon Repairs:

What are Tendons?

Tendons are tough, stretchy, fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bone, thereby helping to make us mobile. When our muscles contract, the tendons pull the bones and allow the joints to move. It’s a surprisingly complicated process that, when we’re healthy, we often overlook. But it's thanks to tendons that the skeletal system and the muscular system can move and work together as we go about our day. Unfortunately, when a tendon is injured, we lose the full mobility of the joint in the affected area.

Why Might Someone Need a Tendon Repaired?

Tendons are not immune to health issues and injury. Natural wear and tear, short-term overuse, high-intensity workouts, and traumatic injuries can all both potentially damage a tendon to the point of needing medical care. More specific examples of damage-inducing scenarios include:

  • deep cuts that sever a tendon 
  • injuries from contact sports
  • rheumatoid arthritis damage

While any tendon can be damaged, the joints in our shoulders, elbows, ankles, knees, and fingers are the ones most commonly injured. Unfortunately, surgery is the only way an injured patient can regain their normal range of motion and function (as well as find long-term pain relief).

What are the Symptoms of a Damaged Tendon?

Damaged tendons often present with the following symptoms:

  • Pain, particularly a sharp and sudden pain that's accompanied by a loud pop or snap
  • Swelling and bruising near the site of the torn tendon
  • Weakness, due to the separation of the affected muscle and bone (which prevents the muscle from contracting and relaxing as it normally would)
  • Muscle bulging, caused by the muscle retracting from the bone without the support of a tendon
  • A limitation of movement

How Does a Doctor Decide Whether or Not I Need Tendon Reparative Surgery?

To decide if surgery is needed, your doctor will begin with a physical exam to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. During the exam, they will compare the mobility of an injured area to the same area on the non-injured side. This difference in the range of motion can help your doctor determine the severity of the problem. They will also check for issues such as:

  • the presence of foreign objects in the affected area (if the injury was caused by a cut)
  • blood loss 
  • signs of infection 
  • other injuries (i.e. fractures, dislocations, nerve injuries, or injuries to the blood vessels)

Based on the findings of the physical exam, imaging tests - such as ultrasounds and MRIs - may be ordered to help diagnose the precise location of a suspected tendon injury. Imaging tests will also help the doctor make a final decision on whether to treat the injury surgically or nonsurgically.

What are Examples of Tendon Damage that can be Repaired at the Pittsburgh Food & Hand Center?

The following are all examples of important tendons that may require surgery to heal from a traumatic event:

  • The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Reparative surgery reconnects the ends of the broken tendon and restores full motion to the foot.
  • The posterior tibialis tendon connects the calf to the inner workings of the ankle. Surgery will fix damage to this tendon, restoring stability and support to the foot.
  • The four peroneal tendons - two in each leg - run side by side down the lower leg bone, with one eventually connecting to the base of the little toe and the other the arch of the foot. Surgery to these tendons will restore stability to the ankle, which relies on the support of these tendons to bear weight and not give out.
  • The anterior tibial tendon lies on the inner-front of the ankle. Surgery on this tendon can restore motion to the injured area, allowing the patient to move their foot in an upward motion.

What Can I Expect at Pittsburgh Foot & Hand Center?

The Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center will initially provide an exam and prescribe any applicable lifestyle changes needed following a diagnosis. Where necessary, we can also prepare patients for a specific type of surgery that will best address the nature of their condition. 

Because every patient is different, specific questions about any diagnosis or surgery should always be discussed in-depth with your medical and/or surgical teams. That’s why we invite you to bring all of your questions to us during your visits, as well as by phone afterward if needed. We will gladly provide the information you need to make the right decision for your health needs.

In addition to Dr. Bowman’s expertise, our practice’s partnerships provide patients with the access they may need to additional care in the form of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and orthotists. Dr. Bowman - and, when needed, these partners - will constantly strive to provide a consistent and high level of nonoperative and postoperative care.