International Orthopaedics

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 61–65 | Cite as

Release of the medial head of the gastrocnemius for Achilles tendinopathy in sedentary patients: a retrospective study

  • Nicola MaffulliEmail author
  • Angelo Del Buono
Original Paper



Our aim was to ascertain whether releasing the medial head of he gastrocnemius improves clinical and functional outcomes of sedentary patients with long-standing tendinopathy of the main body of the Achilles tendon and allows return to daily activities.


Eighteen patients (seven men, 11 women) underwent release of the gastrocnemius medial head to manage chronic unilateral Achilles tendinopathy. Pre- and postoperatively, each patient completed the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment–Achilles tendon (VISA-A) questionnaire. The maximum calf circumference and isometric plantar flexion strength of the gastrocsoleus complex were measured in both the affected and the contralateral leg. Function was scored using the 4-point Boyden scale at the last assessment.


At the last appointment, at an average follow-up of 54 months, maximum calf circumference and strength of the operated leg were not significantly different than pre-operatively and were significantly lower than the contralateral leg. All patients could satisfactorily perform the same work and daily activities as before symptom onset. At the last follow-up, the average VISA-A score was improved from a preoperative average value of 52.3 to 75 (range 51–94) (p < .001).


This approach to managing isolated Achiles tendinopathy is safe, effective, low cost and allows safe return to preinjury daily activities.


Sedentary patients Chronic Achilles tendinopathy Gastronemius medial-head release Return to daily activities 


Conflict of interests



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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Sports and Exercise MedicineQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedics and TraumatologySant’Anna HospitalSan Fermo della Battaglia (Como)Italy

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