Healing the Achilles Heel


BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Physical therapy and invasive foot surgery have long been the standards of care for repairing Achilles tendons. But now, there’s a much less invasive procedure which repairs the Achilles tendon right in the doctor’s office.

Barbara Lakis is a tri-athlete – swimming, biking, and running long distances – but over time, she was plagued with leg and foot injuries.

“I’ve had this injury to both my Achilles since 2008, since my first marathon, and I’ve been just, kinda, suffering through it,” Lakis tells Ivanhoe.

Unable to even climb the stairs, Lakis considered her standard treatment options of physical therapy and invasive surgery.

Mercy Medical Center non-surgical orthopedics doctor, Nicholas Anastasio, MD says, “We performed a percutaneous tenotomy procedure, which is a big mouthful for a small surgery.”

(Read Full Interview)

Dr. Anastasio used a small needle under ultrasound to penetrate the scar tissue blocking the tendon.

“The procedure re-establishes that blood flow and it does mechanically break up the scar tissue to a degree. That allows the body to take over and heal, and remodel the tendon,” Dr. Anastasio explains.

There is no general anesthesia, general surgery, or prolonged healing time, and it’s performed in the office.

“I’m a very prepared person, so, I brought my crutches. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to weight bear, and I stood up and I could walk!,” Lakis exclaims.

Tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and hamstring injuries can also be repaired with a percutaneous tenotomy procedure, and usually only takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5223 

BACKGROUND: Foot injuries are a common occurrence and can range from minor cuts and bruises to more severe conditions such as fractures and ligament tears. According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 47,000 foot and toe injuries in the workplace in 2019 alone. About six percent of the U.S. population have a foot injury, flat feet, or fallen arches every year. The stress we put on our feet every day not only can make our lives physically harder but brings about an effect on our moods as well.

(Source: https://orthopedicassociates.org/facts-about-foot-pain-that-you-probably-didnt-know/#:~:text=About%206%25%20of%20US%20population,or%20fallen%20arches%20each%20year.)

DIAGNOSING: Diagnosing foot injuries involves a combination of physical examination, medical history, and imaging tests. The process of diagnosis is crucial in determining the extent of the injury, the appropriate treatment plan, and the expected recovery time. The first step in diagnosing a foot injury is a physical examination. During the exam, the doctor will inspect the affected foot, looking for signs of swelling, bruising, redness, or deformity. They may also check for tenderness and range of motion, as well as test the strength of the foot and ankle muscles. Imaging tests are often necessary to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the injury. X-rays can reveal fractures or dislocations, while MRI or CT scans can provide more detailed images of soft tissue injuries such as ligament tears or tendon ruptures.



NEW TECHNOLOGY: While physical therapy and invasive surgeries have historically been caring standards for sports injuries, a procedure called a tenotomy has come about. A tenotomy is a surgical procedure that involves cutting a tendon in order to release tension or correct a deformity. The procedure is most commonly performed on the tendons of the elbow, foot, or ankle. Tenotomy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including tendonitis, spasticity, and contractures. In some cases, tenotomy may be recommended when other treatments have failed to provide relief.




Dan Collins


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Dr. Nicholas Anastasio, Non-Surgical Orthopedics Doctor

Read the entire Q&A