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Concept: Achilles tendon rupture


BackgroundLess invasive percutaneous acute Achilles tendon rupture repair techniques gain popularity because of lower risk of surgical wound complications. But these approaches have an increased risk of sural nerve iatrogenic injury as this sensory nerve is usually not visualized during minimally invasive operative procedures. We compared standard percutaneous Bunnell type and our proposed modified-medialized percutaneous technique in a cadaver study to evaluate potential advantages. Methods10 pairs of fresh frozen specimens were divided into two groups for comparative anatomical study. Tenotomies of Achilles tendons were made and wounds sutured. 10 standard and 10 modified-medialized repairs were applied for artificially performed ruptures. All sutured tendons were dissected meticulously. We carefully looked at repaired Achilles tendon end-to-end contact and adaptation, distance from Achilles insertion in calcaneal tubercle to place where sural nerve crosses lateral border of the Achilles tendon and possible sural nerve and vein entrapment. Groups were compared using Fisher’s exact and Student-T tests.ResultsAll ends of sharply dissected tendons in both groups were in sufficient contact. No measurable diastasis between tendon ends was found in all cases. No entrapment of sural nerve or vein was found in modified percutaneous Bunnell suture technique group. Whereas 7 of 10 sural nerves and 9 small saphenous veins were entrapped when using standard percutaneous Bunnell type technique. Average distance from Achilles tendon insertion in tuber calcanei to sural nerve crossing the lateral border of Achilles was 93 mm.ConclusionMedialization of percutaneous suture in acute Achilles tendon rupture repair show clear advantages compared to standard non medialized technique ensuring a possible lower incidence of sural nerve entrapment injury. Our modified percutaneous Bunnell type technique allows sufficient adaptation of ruptured Achilles tendon.

Concepts: Muscle, Wound, Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendons, Small saphenous vein, Sural nerve, Achilles tendon rupture


Achilles tendon rupture is a frequent injury with an increasing incidence. Until now, there is no consensus regarding optimal treatment. The aim of this review was to illuminate and summarize randomized controlled trials comparing surgical and non-surgical treatment of Achilles tendon ruptures during the last 10 years. Seven articles were found and they were all acceptable according to international quality assessment guidelines. Primary outcomes were re-ruptures, other complications, and functional outcomes. There was no significant difference in re-ruptures between the two treatments, but a tendency to favoring surgical treatment. Further, one study found an increased risk of soft-tissue-related complications after surgery. Patient satisfaction and time to return to work were significantly different in favor of surgery in one study, and there was also better functional outcome after surgery in some studies. These seven studies indicate that surgical patients have a faster rehabilitation. However, the differences between surgical and non-surgical treatment appear to be subtle and it could mean that rehabilitation is more important, rather than the actual initial treatment. Therefore, further studies will be needed in regard to understanding the interplay between acute surgical or non-surgical treatment, and the rehabilitation regimen for the overall outcome after Achilles tendon ruptures.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendinosis, Achilles tendon rupture


The standard approach to reconstruction after resection of a diffuse-type tenosynovial giant cell tumor is a local patch with free flaps. However, in cases in which the Achilles tendon involvement is extensive, and the entire tendon must be removed, an autologous flap graft might not be adequate to allow a return to function. We report a case of a 52-year-old female patient who developed bilateral tumors of the Achilles tendon, with a 10-year duration. By the time, she sought medical help, both Achilles tendons required removal. We chose to use Achilles tendon allografts to replace the Achilles tendons. Postoperatively, the patient did well. The allograft shortened the recovery time, and the patient regained full ankle range of motion.

Concepts: Human anatomy, Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendons, Achilles' heel, Achilles tendon rupture


Infection is a major complication after open reconstruction of Achilles tendon ruptures. We report on the use of vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy in the treatment of late deep infections after open Achilles tendon reconstruction. Six patients (5 males [83.33%], 1 female [16.67%]; mean age, 52.8 [range 37 to 66] years) were been treated using an identical protocol. Surgical management consisted of debridement, lavage, and necrectomy of infected tendon parts. The VAC therapy was used for local wound preconditioning and infection management. A continuous negative pressure of 125 mm Hg was applied on each wound. For final wound closure, a split-thickness skin graft was performed. The skin graft healing process was also supported by VAC therapy during the first 5 days. The VAC dressings were changed a mean average of 3 (range 1 to 4) times until split-thickness skin grafting could be performed. The mean total duration of the VAC therapy was 13.6 ± 5.9 days. The mean hospital stay was 31.2 ± 15.9 days. No complications with regard to bleeding, seroma, or hematoma formation beneath the skin graft were observed. At a mean follow-up duration of 29.9 (range 4 to 65) months, no re-infection or infection persistence was observed. The VAC device seems to be a valuable tool in the treatment of infected tendons. The generalization of these conclusions should await the results of future studies with larger patient series.

Concepts: Infection, Arithmetic mean, Tendon, Achilles tendon, Chronic wound, Tendinosis, Negative pressure wound therapy, Achilles tendon rupture


Currently there is no effective approach to enhance tendon repair, hence we aimed to identify a suitable cell source for tendon engineering utilizing an established clinically relevant animal model for tendon injury.

Concepts: Tendon, Achilles tendon, Achilles tendon rupture


There are two approaches available for surgical repair of the Achilles tendon: open repair, or percutaneous repair. However, there is controversy whether or not an open repair or percutaneous repair is superior. Focused Clinical Question: Which type of surgery is better in providing the best overall patient outcome, open or percutaneous repair, in physically active males and females with acute Achilles tendon ruptures? Summary of Search, “Best Evidence” Appraised and Key Findings: The literature was searched for studies of level 3 evidence or higher that investigated the effectiveness of open repair versus percutaneous repair on acute Achilles tendon ruptures in physically active males and females. The literature search resulted in four studies for possible inclusion. All three quality studies were included. Clinical Bottom Line: There is supporting evidence to indicate that percutaneous repair is the best option for Achilles tendon surgery, when it comes to the physically active population. Percutaneous repair has faster surgery times, less risk of complications, and has faster recovery times over having an open repair. This is acknowledging that every patient has a different situation and best individual option may vary patient to patient.

Concepts: Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendinosis, Achilles tendon rupture


Acute rupture of the Achilles tendon is common and seen most frequently in people who participate in recreational athletics into their thirties and forties. Although goals of treatment have not changed in the past 15 years, recent studies of nonsurgical management, specifically functional bracing with early range of motion, demonstrate rerupture rates similar to those of tendon repair and result in fewer wound and soft-tissue complications. Satisfactory outcomes may be obtained with nonsurgical or surgical treatment. Newer surgical techniques, including limited open and percutaneous repair, show rerupture rates similar to those of open repair but lower overall complication rates. Early research demonstrates no improvement in functional outcomes or tendon properties with the use of platelet-rich plasma, but promising results with the use of bone marrow-derived stem cells have been seen in animal models. Further investigation is necessary to warrant routine use of biologic adjuncts in the management of acute Achilles tendon ruptures.

Concepts: Demonstration, Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendinosis, Rupture of membranes, Achilles tendon rupture


Background:Most studies on Achilles tendon ruptures involved US military or European populations, which may not translate to the general US population. The current study reviews 406 consecutive Achilles tendon ruptures occurring in the general US population for patterns in a tertiary care subspecialty referral setting.Methods:An institutional review board-approved, retrospective review of the charts of 331 (83%) males (6 bilateral, nonsimultaneous) and 69 (17%) females diagnosed with Achilles tendon ruptures over a 10-year period was undertaken. Average age was 46.4 years with 310 (76%) ruptures diagnosed and managed acutely (less than 4 weeks), whereas 96 (24%) were chronic (more than 4 weeks since the injury). Patients were assessed for mechanism of injury and previously described underlying risk factors. Results were assessed according to age (greater or less than 55 years), body mass index (BMI), and time to diagnosis.Results:Sporting activity was responsible for 275 ruptures (68%). This was higher in patients younger than 55 years of age (77%) than those older than 55 years (42%). Basketball was the most commonly involved sport, accounting for 132 ruptures (48% of sports ruptures, 32% of all ruptures), followed by tennis in 52 ruptures (13%, 9%), and football in 32 ruptures (12%, 8%). In all, 20 ruptures were reruptures of the same Achilles tendon, of which 17 had previously been treated nonsurgically. In this study, recent quinolone use (2%) and African American race (31%) were not major risk factors for rupture as described in other studies. Older patients and patients with a BMI greater than 30 were more likely to be injured in nonsporting activities and more likely to have their diagnosis initially not recognized resulting in their presentation more than 4 weeks following the injury.Conclusion:In this study, sports participation was the most common mechanism, but not to the same extent seen in the European or US military studies. Basketball was the most commonly involved sport, as compared to soccer in Europe. Age and BMI had a directly proportional correlation with time to diagnosis.Level of Evidence: Level II, epidemiologic study.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Mass, Demographics of the United States, Body mass index, Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, Tendon, Inequality, Achilles tendon rupture


Most Achilles tendon ruptures are sports related. However, few studies have examined and compared the effect of surgical repair for complete ruptures on return to play (RTP), play time, and performance across multiple sports.

Concepts: Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendinosis, Achilles tendon rupture


Haglund’s syndrome is impingement of the retrocalcaneal bursa and Achilles tendon caused by a prominence of the posterosuperior calcaneus. Radiographic measurements are not sensitive or specific for diagnosing Haglund’s deformity. Localization of a bone deformity and tendinopathy in the same sagittal section of a magnetic resonance imaging scan can assist with the diagnosis in equivocal cases. The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of Haglund’s syndrome in patients presenting with Achilles tendinopathy and note any associated findings to determine the criteria for a diagnosis of Haglund’s syndrome. We reviewed 40 magnetic resonance imaging scans with Achilles tendinopathy and 19 magnetic resonance imaging scans with Achilles high-grade tears and/or ruptures. Achilles tendinopathy was often in close proximity to the superior aspect of the calcaneal tuberosity, consistent with impingement (67.5%). Patients with Achilles impingement tendinopathy were more often female (p < .04) and were significantly heavier than patients presenting with noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy (p = .014) or Achilles tendon rupture (p = .010). Impingement tendinopathy occurred medially (8 of 20) and centrally (10 of 20) more often than laterally (2 of 20) and was associated with a posterior prominence or hyperconvexity with a loss of calcaneal recess more often than a superior projection (22 of 27 versus 8 of 27; p < .001). Haglund's deformity should be reserved for defining a posterior prominence or hyperconvexity with loss of calcaneal recess because this corresponds with impingement. Achilles impingement tendinopathy might be more appropriate terminology for Haglund's syndrome, because the bone deformity is often subtle. Of the 27 images with Achilles impingement tendinopathy, 10 (37.0%) extended to a location prone to Achilles tendon rupture. Given these findings, insertional and noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy are not mutually exclusive and impingement might be a subtle, unrecognized cause of Achilles tendinopathy and subsequent rupture.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Radiography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Tendon, Achilles tendon, Tendinosis, Calcaneus, Achilles tendon rupture