The reliability, reproducibility and utilization of the radiographic Achilles Tendon Loading Angle in the management of Achilles Tendon rupture (2021)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Carmont M.R.; *Littlehales J.; Brorsson A.; Karlsson J.; Nilsson-Helander K.; Barfod K.W.; Ginder L.

Foot and ankle surgery : official journal of the European Society of Foot and Ankle Surgeons; Oct 2021; vol. 27 (no. 7); p. 760-766

Background: During management of Achilles tendon rupture, determination of tendon-end approximation, either clinically or by ultrasound is difficult, following brace application of during loading. The Radiographic Achilles Tendon Loading Angle (RadATLA) is proposed as a method of measuring ankle position whilst loading in a brace during the management of Achilles tendon rupture. This study aims to determine the reliability and reproducibility of the RadATLA. Method(s): A loaded true lateral ankle radiograph including the fifth metatarsal head was taken when wearing a brace at the 6-week time point in 18 patients (19 ankles). following Achilles tendon repair or reconstruction. The RadATLA was compared with the Tibio-talar angle, other radiographic and clinical measures used to quantify foot and ankle position during the first 6 weeks of early rehabilitation in a resting position and during loading. Result(s): The intra-rater reliability of both angles was found to be good (>0.8). The RadATLA was found to have an excellent intra-rater reliability with Intra-class correlation of (ICC) 0.992-0.996 (95%CI 0.889-0.999), standard error of the measurement (SEM) 1.03-3.65 and Minimal Detectable Change (MDC) 2.86-10.12. The inter-rater reliability was good with ICC of 0.798-0.969 (95%CI-0.03 to 0.964), SEM 2.9-7.6, and MDC 8.1-20.9. The RadATLA loaded at 6 weeks in all patients was at mean (SD) (range) 41.9 (16.5), (18.5-75.9). There was a significant difference between the patients in the Repair group compared with patients in the Reconstruction group both in RadATLA loaded at 6 weeks: 35.6 (11.2), (18.5-56.5) versus 55.5 (19), (20-75.9), (p = 0.01). The amount loaded in all patients was at mean (SD) (range) 29.2Kg (17.7), (2-56) and the percentage Body Weight was 30.7% (19), (2.1-63.2). There were no differences between the groups neither in amount loaded nor in percentage Body weight (p = 0.614-0.651). Conclusion(s): The RadATLA is a reliable and reproducible angle and can be used to determine the position of the ankle, when loaded in a brace during rehabilitation following Achilles tendon rupture.