Age and Tightness of Repair Are Predictors of Heel-Rise Height After Achilles Tendon Rupture (2020)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Carmont, Michael R.; Zellers, Jennifer A.; Brorsson, Annelie; Nilsson-Helander, Katarina; Karlsson, Jón; Grävare Silbernagel, Karin

Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine; Mar 2020; vol. 8 (no. 3); p. 1-8

Background: Achilles tendon rupture leads to weakness of ankle plantarflexion. Treatment of Achilles tendon rupture should aim to restore function while minimizing weakness and complications of management. Purpose: To determine the influence of factors (age, sex, body mass index [BMI], weight, time from injury to operative repair, and tightness of repair) in the initial surgical management of patients after an acute Achilles tendon rupture on 12-month functional outcome assessment after percutaneous and minimally invasive repair. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: From May 2012 to January 2018, patients sustaining an Achilles tendon rupture receiving operative repair were prospectively evaluated. Tightness of repair was quantified using the intraoperative Achilles tendon resting angle (ATRA). Heel-rise height index (HRHI) was used as the primary 12-month outcome variable. Secondary outcome measures included Achilles tendon total rupture score (ATRS) and Tegner score. Stepwise multiple regression was used to create a model to predict 12-month HRHI. Results: A total of 122 patients met the inclusion criteria for data analysis (mean ± SD age, 44.1 ± 10.8 years; 78% male; mean ± SD BMI, 28.1 ± 4.3 kg/m2). The elapsed time to surgery was 6.5 ± 4.0 days. At 12-month follow-up, patients had an HRHI of 82% ± 16% and performed 82% ± 17% of repetitions compared with the noninjured side. Participants had a mean ATRS of 87 ± 15 and a median Tegner score of 5 (range, 1-9), with a reduction in Tegner score of 2 from preinjury levels. The relative ATRA at 12 months was –4.8° ± 3.9°. Multiple regression identified younger age (B = ±0.006; P <.001) and greater intraoperative ATRA (B = 0.005; P =.053) as predictors of more symmetrical 12-month HRHI (R 2 = 0.19; P <.001; n = 120). Conclusion: Age was found to be the strongest predictor of outcome after Achilles tendon rupture. The most important modifiable risk factor was the tightness of repair. It is recommended that repair be performed as tight as possible to optimize heel-rise height 1 year after Achilles tendon rupture and possibly to reduce tendon elongation.

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