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Functional treatment after surgical repair of acute Achilles tendon rupture: wrap vs walking cast

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Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The aim of this study was to compare the clinical outcome for patients treated with walking cast immobilization and wrap early mobilization after surgical repair of acute Achilles tendon ruptures. A total of 39 consecutive patients with complete ruptures of the Achilles tendon were identified, treated, and functionally rehabilitated with either a walking cast or a wrap. Because the randomization was quasi-random, chi-square and t-tests were performed to compare the baseline characteristics. A statistically significant difference was present only for the injured side (p<0.05). Therefore, groups were considered comparable for analysis of outcome. All patients were evaluated at an average follow-up of 6.7 years (range 5–8 years). Functional postoperative treatment with a wrap allowed a significantly shorter hospital stay (p<0.05) as well as a shorter period to return to pre-injury sports level (p<0.01) compared with treatment with a walking cast. According to the modified Rupp score, 91.3% of patients in the walking cast group had a good or excellent result, as did 93.8% in the wrap group (p=0.9). Slight atrophy of the calf muscles was reported in 3 patients in the walking cast group (13.0%) and in 4 in the wrap group (25.0%). One re-rupture was reported in the walking cast group (4.3%). Functional treatment after surgical Achilles tendon repair is safe, and there is no increased risk of re-rupture or wound healing problems. Functional treatment with a wrap is preferable to treatment with a walking cast with respect to hospitalization time and return to sports.

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Kerkhoffs, .G., Struijs, .P., Raaymakers, .E. et al. Functional treatment after surgical repair of acute Achilles tendon rupture: wrap vs walking cast. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 122, 102–105 (2002).

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