The ruptured Achilles tendon: operative and non-operative treatment options

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Jun;1(2):161-4. doi: 10.1007/s12178-008-9025-4.


The Achilles tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon in the human body. Like any other tendon in the body, however, it is susceptible to rupture. Many surgeons advocate early operative repair of the ruptured Achilles tendon, citing decreased re-rupture rates and improved functional outcome. Waiting for surgical repair for longer than one month may lead to inferior functional results postoperatively. Non-operative treatment has higher re-rupture rates as compared to surgically repaired tendons, but may be the treatment of choice in some patients. While for many years, patients were rigidly immobilized in a non-weightbearing cast for 6-8 weeks postoperatively, newer studies have shown excellent results with early weightbearing, and this is quickly becoming the standard of care amongst many physicians.