Achilles tendon reattachment after surgical treatment of insertional tendinosis using the suture bridge technique: a case series

J Foot Ankle Surg. Jul-Aug 2012;51(4):487-93. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2012.03.006. Epub 2012 May 10.


Achilles tendinopathy is a clinical diagnosis characterized as a triad of symptoms including pain, swelling, and impaired performance of the diseased tendon. Achilles tendinopathy is divided into Achilles tendonitis and tendinosis based on histopathological examination. Achilles tendinosis is viewed microscopically as disorganized collagen, abnormal neovascularization, necrosis, and mucoid degeneration. Insertional Achilles tendinosis is a degenerative process of the tendon at the junction of the tendon and calcaneus. This disease is initially treated conservatively with activity modification, custom orthotic devices, heel lifts, and immobilization. After 3 to 6 months of conservative therapy has failed to alleviate symptoms, surgical management is indicated. Surgical management of insertional Achilles tendinosis includes Achilles tendon debridement, calcaneal exostosis ostectomy, and retrocalcaneal bursa excision. In this case series, we present 4 patients who underwent surgical management of insertional Achilles tendinosis with complete tendon detachment. All patients underwent reattachment of the Achilles tendon with the suture bridge technique. The Arthrex SutureBridge(®) (Arthrex, Inc., Naples, FL) device uses a series of 4 suture anchors and FiberWire(®) (Arthrex Inc.) to reattach the Achilles tendon to its calcaneal insertion. This hourglass pattern of FiberWire(®) provides a greater area of tendon compression, consequently allowing greater stability and possible earlier return to weightbearing activities. The patients were followed up for approximately 2 years' duration. There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications. At final follow-up there was no evidence of Achilles tendon ruptures or device failures. All patients were able to return to their activities of daily living without the use of assistive devices. The patients' average visual analog pain scale was 1 (range 0 to 4), and their average foot functional index score was 3.41 (range 0 to 10.71). The suture bridge technique is a viable option for Achilles tendon repair after surgical management of insertional Achilles tendinosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Calcaneus / pathology
  • Calcaneus / surgery
  • Exostoses / complications
  • Exostoses / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods
  • Pain Measurement
  • Suture Anchors
  • Suture Techniques*
  • Tendinopathy / complications
  • Tendinopathy / surgery*