Post Op Tendon and Soft Tissue Repair

The Makovicka Difference

We are leaders in our profession, locally owned and operated by physical therapists who forge relationships with patients, and advocate for their care. All of our clinics have board-certified specialists on staff, meaning you get the highest level of care to maximize your recovery, and get you back to your game. We will listen, evaluate your symptoms, and create a personalized physical therapy program to meet your needs and improve your function, strength, and mobility.

What is a post op tendon and soft tissue repair? 

A postoperative tendon and soft tissue repair occurs when there is an injury that cannot be fixed with conservative treatment measures. In other words, the injury will require surgery to be fixed.  

How does it occur? 

Tendons and soft tissue injuries can occur in a few different ways. The first is from generalized wear and tear over time that leads to wearing away and/or fraying of the tendon. There is likely a diagnosis of arthritis coupled with that. The second manner of injury occurs from sports, recreational activities, or heavy work-related injuries. And lastly, if there are deep cuts or lacerations from a traumatic incident the tendon can be partially or completely severed. 

How is it diagnosed? 

Commonly your doctor will want you to complete conservative treatment options before considering surgery. This would include completing occupational therapy. The timeframe you can expect could be up to 6 months, and if there are no signs of improvement your doctor might consider surgery at that point. Otherwise, if there is a large/full tear in a muscle, tendon, or ligament that might warrant an operation prior to conservative measures. Special imaging such as ultrasound and MRIs will be conducted to determine the exact location and severity of the injury. 


With the more intense nature and severity of tendon injuries, healing times are expected to be longer in duration. Your doctor and occupational therapist will work together with a specific post-operative protocol to determine the length of healing time. Typically, full strength is returned around 12 weeks and can take anywhere from 6-12 months to fully heal. In general, light activities such as writing and typing can be resumed after 6-8 weeks. Medium level activities such as driving and grocery shopping resume around 8-10 weeks. Heavy levels of activity such as lifting, manual labor, and sports are 12 weeks or greater with clearance from your doctor. Factors that can delay healing or alter the timeline would be diabetes, circulation problems, obesity, heart or nerve conditions, drug and alcohol addiction, smoking 

Why Occupational therapy?  

Occupational therapists have the skills to address and assist with the healing process. A therapist can custom fabricate an orthosis if a medical doctor prescribes one to protect the integrity of the surgical repair. OTs are also trained to address and progress range of motion per protocol, educate pain management strategies, tailor home exercise programs, desensitize scars, perform soft tissue mobilization techniques, and alter daily tasks to aid in independence and improve performance.

Taylor Genis, OTD, OTR/L