The purpose of our study was to evaluate the functional outcomes of two methods of surgical treatment of acute closed raptures of the Achilles tendon, specifically, the primary open repair and the percutaneous repair techniques, utilizing (a) isokinetic plantar flexion strength, (b) midcalf girth, (c) ankle joint proprioception, and (d) ankle range of motion values. As a secondary purpose, the frequency of reruptures and postsurgical complications were compared between techniques. Twenty male patients (mean age, 43.8 ± 9.4 years) who sustained complete, closed ruptures of the Achilles tendon participated in this study. Results of paired t tests revealed significant differences between postsurgical and contralateral normal limbs for 6 of 12 variables. Results of the ANOVAs revealed no significant differences between the open repair group and percutaneous repair group for any of the evaluative parameters. The significant deficits in postoperative isokinetic plantar flexion strength and midcalf girth measurements, irrespective of surgical technique, suggest an incompleteness of rehabilitation or, more likely, the physiological inability to regain these characteristics postoperatively.
Gregory J. Steele is with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766. Rod A. Harter is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331. Arthur J. Ting is with Palo Alto Medical Clinic, Sportsmedicine Department, 300 Homer St., Palo Alto, CA 94301.