Tendon and muscle reconstruction refers to a surgical procedure that helps in locating the divided tendons, and muscles to stitch them together. Common problems that usually need tendon and muscle reconstruction are wrist drop and foot drop. (both upper and lower limbs)
Wrist drop – A common injury that involves re-implantation of the wrist (upper limb)
Wrist drop occurs when a person can’t extend their wrist and is limp in appearance. This occurs when the radial nerve is damaged due to a cut or wound. The radial nerve sends the message from the brain to the hand for functionality.
Main cause of a wrist drop is due to overuse of the hands and wrist. This is usually common with people who lift heavy weights or who are in sports.
What are the symptoms of wrist drop?
- If there is an injury to the nerve, the person will experience numbness in the wrist, hand, behind the hand and the forearm.
- Weakness and difficulty in moving the wrist normally in day to day activities are hard to perform in bending the wrist backwards or straightening of thumb and fingers.
- Continuous pain also is felt in the forearm or elbow.
Treatment and Recovery
Treatment and recovery for a wrist drop may involve splinting (temporary immobilising device for the limb that is injured). If the trauma is severe, it may also require a re-implantation procedure. However, with a splint the recovery usually is seen spontaneously within 8-12 weeks.
Foot drop is the inability or loss of functioning of the front heel of the foot. It causes the toes to drag while walking. People who have a foot drop usually lift their knee high up, or swing their leg wide apart while walking. A foot drop can affect single or both legs at a time, and can strike at any age.
There could be many reasons for a foot drop. The most common reasons of a foot drop can be due to weakness or a paralytic attack to the muscle that lift the foot. Treatments for a foot drop vary according to the causes involved.
Common causes of a foot drop
It could be a symptom of an underlying problem. It could also be temporary or permanent.
- Nerve Injury – The injury caused to the peroneal nerve, which wraps from the back side of the knee to the front of the shin bone.
- Brain or Spine problems – Neurological weaknesses or problems can cause a foot drop
- Muscle disorders – Constant weakness of muscles, or muscle deterioration
Treatment and Recovery
Treatments for a foot drop generally is based on the cause. The treatments may include:
- Lightweight braces – Most common treatment involving support to the leg.
- Physiotherapy – To strengthen the foot muscles, and improve the person’s walk.
- Shoe inserts (orthotics) – Therapeutic shoe soles to help reactivating the foot/leg muscles.
- Surgery – A surgery to repair or decompress the damaged nerves may be recommended. This can help to fuse the the foot and ankle joints. Another way is to transfer tendons from stronger muscles, and replace them with the weaker ones to improve the stability.