Long-term prognosis of patients with achilles tendinopathy. An observational 8-year follow-up study

Am J Sports Med. Sep-Oct 2000;28(5):634-42. doi: 10.1177/03635465000280050301.

Abstract

To determine the long-term outcome of patients treated nonoperatively for acute or subchronic (duration of the symptoms before initiation of the treatment less than 6 months) Achilles tendinopathy, we performed a follow-up analysis on 83 of 107 patients an average 8 +/- 2 (SD) years after the initial contact. The analysis included a questionnaire, clinical examination, performance tests, muscle strength measurement, and ultrasonographic examination. Twenty-four of the 83 patients (29%) had to be operated on during the follow-up period. Seventy patients (84%) had full recovery of their activity level, and at 8 years' follow-up 78 patients (94%) were asymptomatic or had only mild pain with strenuous exercise. However, a clear side-to-side difference between the involved and the uninvolved sides was observed on the performance test, clinical examination, and ultrasonography. Also, 34 patients (41%) started to suffer from overuse symptoms in the initially uninvolved Achilles tendon. The results of our 8-year follow-up showed that the long-term prognosis of patients with acute-to-subchronic Achilles tendinopathy is favorable as determined by subjective and functional assessments. In the clinical and ultrasonographic examinations, mild-to-moderate changes were observed rather frequently in both the involved and initially uninvolved Achilles tendons, but the occurrence of these changes was not clearly related to the patients' symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / diagnostic imaging
  • Achilles Tendon / injuries*
  • Achilles Tendon / pathology
  • Achilles Tendon / surgery
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Tendon Injuries / pathology*
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography