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What Works Best for Ruptured Achilles Tendons?

HealthDay discusses ongoing research and potential treatment options for ruptured Achilles tendon with insight from experts including Andrew J. Elliott, MD, foot and ankle surgeon at HSS.

A study published in New England Journal of Medicine that involved 554 patients with a newly ruptured Achilles tendon -- mostly men in their 30s or 40s, found that without surgery, the risk of re-rupture was higher.

Dr. Elliott, who was not involved in the study, noted that patients in the study were outfitted with a special cast to immobilize the foot and ankle within 72 hours of their injury, which is a lot faster than what is typical in everyday practice.

He also noted that the choice to do surgery or not depends “first and foremost” on the individual patient.

For an athlete or highly active person, for example, surgery may be the better option. Without it, Dr. Elliott said, the tendon will heal, but not necessarily in an ideal way. Surgery can fix it more precisely, at its proper length and tension.

Dr. Elliott noted a nonsurgical approach may be better for older patients, smokers and those with health conditions that can make surgery riskier.

He explained that patient preference can also be a factor. Some are eager to avoid surgery, while others “don't even want to talk about nonsurgical options.”

Dr. Elliott underscored the treatment decision comes down to their personal situation and preferences.

Read the full article at Consumer.healthday.com. Additional coverage: Health.usnews.com.