Achilles tendon rupture rehabilitation: A mixed methods investigation of current practice among Orthopaedic surgeons in the United Kingdom
Kearney RS., Parsons N., Underwood M., Costa ML.
Objectives: The evidence base to inform the management of Achilles tendon rupture is sparse. The objectives of this research were to establish what current practice is in the United Kingdom and explore clinicians' views on proposed further research in this area. This study was registered with the ISRCTN (ISRCTN68273773) as part of a larger programme of research. Methods: We report an online survey of current practice in the United Kingdom, approved by the British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society and completed by 181 of its members. A total of ten of these respondents were invited for a subsequent one-to-one interview to explore clinician views on proposed further research in this area. Results: The survey showed wide variations in practice, with patients being managed in plaster cast alone (13%), plaster cast followed by orthoses management (68%), and orthoses alone (19%). Within these categories, further variation existed regarding the individual rehabilitation facets, such as the length of time worn, the foot position within them and weight-bearing status. The subsequent interviews reflected this clinical uncertainty and the pressing need for definitive research. Conclusions: The gap in evidence in this area has resulted in practice in the United Kingdom becoming varied and based on individual opinion. Future high-quality randomised trials on this subject are supported by the clinical community.