No difference in Achilles Tendon Resting Angle, Patient-reported outcome or Heel-rise height Index between Non- and Early-weightbearing the First Year after an Achilles Tendon Rupture (2020)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Carmont M; Brorsson, A.; Karlsson, J.; Nilsson-Helander, K.

Muscles, Ligaments & Tendons Journal (MLTJ); Oct 2020; vol. 10 (no. 4); p. 651-658

Background. Patient-reported outcome scores and comparable re-rupture rates in randomized controlled trials have not shown a definitive benefit for operative treatment after acute Achilles tendon rupture. This, together with the increasing rupture rates in the older age group has led to non-operative treatment being increasingly used. Objective. This study aimed to determine the variation in Achilles Tendon Resting Angle (ATRA) together with patient reported and functional outcome, with non-operative management of the ruptured Achilles tendon using two different regimes, which have been shown to offer low re-rupture rates. Methods. This is a non-randomised cohort comparison of Achilles tendon rupture patients managed with Non-Weight-Bearing (NWB) for 6 weeks vs. Early Weight-Bearing (EWB). The NWB-group received a cast in plantar flexion for 2 weeks followed by 6 weeks in a controlled ankle motion boot with incremental diminishing plantar flexion. The EWB-group received an initial anterior protective plaster slab in plantar flexion followed by 6 weeks of weight-bearing on the meta-tarsal heads, with an anterior shell restricting dorsiflexion. Results. At 12 months after the injury there were no differences in any of the variables between the two treatment groups. The NWB-group compared to the EWB-group reported at mean (SD) for ATRA -9.8° (4.6°) versus -11.4° (5°), p=0.32, for Achilles tendon Total Rupture Score (ATRS) 87 (10) versus 79 (19), p=0.43 and for Heel-Rise Height Index (HRHI) 71% (19%) versus 59% (13%), p=0.13. Conclusions. The two methods of non-operative treatment studied lead to increased relative ATRA following injury, however, patients report only minor limitation in terms of outcome. Patients had almost a third less heel-rise height compared with the non-injured ankle.

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