Rehabilitation after surgery for Achilles tendon ruptures
The incidence of Achilles tendon ruptures (ATR) is on the rise and despite the fact that the latest evidence supports the use of functional rehabilitation over surgical treatment, the last is still widely used around the world. The purpose of this study was to compare two different functional exercise regimens; early ankle range of motion (ROM) and early weight-bearing versus cast immobilization for the post-operative management of an acute ATR.
A meta-analysis of 6 studies with a total sample size of 279 participants revealed the following results; the functional exercise group showed faster return to sports, greater ROM, tendon elongation and plantar flexion strength at 3 months and 1 year after the operation. The immobilized group had a higher rate of minor complications such as scar adhesions, abnormal sensation, delayed wound healing, ankle stiffness and footwear restriction. No differences were observed in the rupture recurrent rate and major complications including infections and deep vein thrombosis.
Taking all these into consideration, early weightbearing combined with early ankle motion exercises after surgical repair of an acute ATR achieves a superior and more rapid functional recovery than conventional immobilization. > From Huang , Am J Sports Med (2014) . All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here to view full article.