Guidelines for Managing Achilles Tendon Rupture

When an Achilles tendon ruptures, the forces placed on the tendon exceed its tensile limits. Patients who sustain these injuries often experience sudden pain in the affected leg, difficulty with weight-bearing, and weakness of the affected ankle. “The Achilles tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the body, and a rupture can be quite disabling,” explains Christopher P. Chiodo, MD. “The healing period after a rupture requires time away from work and limits athletic activity. Time away from work may have a financial impact on patients, and limiting activity may affect patients’ overall health and well-being.” Achilles tendon rupture is more common in men who are in their 30s and 40s, but more people are staying active as they age, meaning that these injuries can occur in older age groups. An acute Achilles tendon rupture affects 5.5 to 9.9 of every 100,000 people in North America each year. There are currently no treatment regimens that are universally agreed upon. The aims of treatment include ascertaining a timely and accurate diagnosis, achieving pain relief, restoring functional status, and returning to pre-rupture activities. “Once a timely and accurate diagnosis is made, clinicians and patients must discuss both conservative strategies (eg, casts or braces) and surgical treatment,” Dr. Chiodo says. New Evidence-Based Guidelines The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has released an evidence-based clinical practice guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of acute Achilles tendon rupture. Available on AAOS’s website (, the goal of the guidelines is to provide assistance to providers who are qualified to treat Achilles tendon ruptures. “These recommendations give guidance on how to select treatment options...