The purpose of this study was to compare the functional results of operative and nonoperative treatment of acute Achilles tendon rupture using an identical rehabilitation program of functional bracing. Over a 10-year period, 200 patients (99 operative, 101 nonoperative) aged between 18 and 65 years were treated at our institution’s physiotherapy department after acute Achilles tendon rupture. There were 132 patients (62 operative, 70 nonoperative) available for a minimum 2-year follow-up (average 6.5 years; range, 2-13 years). Functional outcome was assessed using the Achilles tendon total rupture score (ATRS).
With the numbers available, no significant difference could be detected in ATRS between operative (mean 84.8, median 90) and nonoperative groups (mean 85.3, median 91; P = 0.55). No significant difference could be detected in ATRS between male and female patients however treated ( P = 0.30) or between patients younger and older than 40 years at time of injury ( P = 0.68). There was no correlation between ATRS score and age at injury in all patients (ρ = -0.0168, P = 0.85). In male patients, there was a weak trend with older patients at follow-up having better scores (ρ = 0.21, P = 0.069). However, among female patients, there was a significant negative correlation between ATRS scores and increasing age (ρ = -0.29, P = 0.03). Logistic regression analysis failed to show any significant effect of age at rupture, gender, or mode of treatment on ATRS.
This study showed no significant difference detectable in ATRS between operative and nonoperative patients in the treatment of acute Achilles tendon ruptures using an identical rehabilitation program with functional bracing.