Early Weightbearing Using Achilles Suture Bridge Technique for Insertional Achilles Tendinosis: A Review of 43 Patients

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Abstract

Posterior heel pain caused by insertional Achilles tendinosis can necessitate surgical intervention when recalcitrant to conservative care. Surgical treatment can necessitate near complete detachment of the Achilles tendon to fully eradicate the offending pathologic features and, consequently, result in long periods of non-weightbearing. A suture bridge technique using bone anchors is available for reattachment of the Achilles tendon. This provides restoration of the Achilles footprint on the calcaneus, including not only contact, but also actual pressure between the tendon and bone. We performed a review of 43 patients who underwent surgical treatment of insertional Achilles tendinosis with reattachment of the Achilles tendon using the suture bridge technique. The mean age was 53 (range 29 to 87) years. The mean follow-up period was 24 (range 13 to 52) months. The mean postoperative American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score was 90 (range 65 to 100). The mean preoperative visual analog scale pain score was 6.8 (range 2 to 10) and the mean postoperative visual analog scale pain score was 1.3 (range 0 to 6). The mean interval to weightbearing was 10 (range 0 to 28) days. No postoperative ruptures occurred. Of the 43 patients, 42 (97.6%) successfully performed the single heel rise test at the final postoperative visit. Concomitant procedures were performed in 35 patients, including 33 (77%) requiring open gastrocnemius recession and 2 (5%) requiring flexor hallucis longus tendon transfer. A total of 42 patients (97.6%) returned to regular shoe gear, and 42 (97.6%) returned to their activities of daily living, including running for 20 athletic patients (100%). Complications included postoperative wound dehiscense requiring surgical debridement in 2 patients (5%) and soft tissue infection requiring antibiotics and surgical debridement in 1 (2%) patient. Our findings support using the Achilles tendon suture bridge for reattachment of the Achilles tendon in the surgical treatment of insertional Achilles tendinosis.

Level of Clinical Evidence: 3

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