The healthy tendon to be transferred is harvested by detaching it from the bone near where it ends. This healthy tendon is then moved near the path where the non-functional tendon normally lives.
The tendon transfer is then anchored to the target bone usually by pulling it through a tunnel drilled into the bone and then fixing it with a screw. The foot and ankle are immobilized and the patient is kept on crutches until the tendon heals permanently into the bone tunnel.
Physical therapy is necessary to teach the transferred tendon its new job.
The most common problems that require a tendon transfer are diseases that affect the posterior tibial tendon (flat foot), Achilles tendon, and anterior tibial tendon.