We aimed to research and analyze the content related to Achilles tendon surgery shared by patients on Instagram, to know more about the patients’ conditions in the perioperative period, which may be important for them but the physicians are unaware of.
Covering 78 months between February 15, 2015 and August 17, 2021, the posts published with the hashtag “#achillessurgery” and #achillesrepair” on Instagram were searched in the application’s database. Posts were evaluated using a binary scoring system: Media format, tone, return to work, return to sports, rehabilitation or physical therapy, images of ankle etc. (scar, dressing, stitches, cast, or walking boot), pain, and activities of daily living. The vast majority of posts were related to Achilles tendinopathy and these posts were excluded from the study. All patients who did not undergo Achilles surgery were excluded from the study. Physician accounts, accounts with advertising content related to rehabilitation or physical therapy, accounts related to health and veterinary posts were also excluded.
Of the 500 posts reviewed, 74% were published by patients and 87% had a positive tone. The mean Instagram like ratio of the posts was 12%. About one third (30%) of the patients posted about the images of ankle etc. and return to sports in their social media posts. The most shared content were posts that had informative content about the disease (41%).
Our research on the use of social media regarding Achilles tendon surgery provides an alternative perspective on how patients feel about their surgical experience. Understanding the contents of the patients’ social media posts may provide an opportunity to better evaluate the surgical experience of patients, which may allow surgeons to manage their patients better.