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Young Adults More Likely to Re-rupture Achilles Tendon

How well do patients fare after surgery and rehab for a ruptured Achilles tendon? That's the focus of this study from the Methodist Sports Medicine Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Results were evaluated by reviewing the records of 89 patients with Achilles tendon rupture. All were treated with the same surgery to repair the tear. An early rehab program was also used.

The patients formed two major groups: those patients 30 years old and younger and anyone 31 years old and older. The researchers report the younger group had a higher rate of reinjury (Achilles tendon re-rupture) than the older group. In fact, the older group had no re-injuries. Almost 20 percent of the younger group reported re-rupture of the injured
Achilles tendon.

Those who re-ruptured were males younger than 31 and with a similar athletic body type. The authors report they were unable to find rate in younger patients. Perhaps they are more aggressive during activities and put more stress on the repaired tendon. Older patients may be more sedentary and less likely to stress
the healing tendon.

More study is needed to understand the biology of tendon rupture and repair. Results may bring changes in the way ruptured tendons are treated. It may be that treatment for younger patients should be different than treatment for older adults.

Arthur C. Rettig, MD, et al. Potential Risk of Rerupture in Primary Achilles Tendon Repair in Athletes Younger Than 30 Years of Age. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January 2005. Vol. 33. No. 1. Pp. 119-123.


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