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BACKGROUND: The optimal method of treatment for acute tendo-Achilles ruptures continues to be debated. HYPOTHESIS: The reported lower rerupture rate for operatively treated patients is an effect of tendon end apposition during the healing process, and patients in whom apposition can be demonstrated using ultrasound will have a similar rate of rerupture if treated nonoperatively. STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. METHOD: The authors reviewed all patients with an Achilles tendon rupture who were treated to a standard protocol during a 5-year period (2000-2005). Patients with a gap of 5 mm or more in equinus on ultrasound underwent surgery; those with a gap of less than 5 mm received nonoperative treatment. All patients were followed up to a minimum of 12 months. RESULTS: After exclusions, 125 patients were included: 67 treated operatively and 58 nonoperatively. There were 2 reruptures in the nonoperative group and 1 with surgery. There was no significant difference between the groups for any complication. CONCLUSION: Reduction of rerupture and surgery risks may be possible using dynamic ultrasound case selection. Further studies are needed to show whether functional results are the same with surgical and nonsurgical treatment when dynamic ultrasound criteria are used for case selection.

Original publication




Journal article


Am j sports med

Publication Date





1395 - 1400


Achilles Tendon, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Algorithms, Casts, Surgical, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Selection, Prospective Studies, Rupture, Secondary Prevention, Severity of Illness Index, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography