I always thought that you had to have surgery if you rupture your Achilles tendon. Is this true?


No, however most research shows that surgical repair results in significantly lower rerupture rates at three and a half percent compared to non-surgical repair, which has a rerupture rate around twelve and a half percent. More recently research has indicated that a functional non-operative protocol results in rerupture rates similar to those who have undergone surgical repair, with one study reporting seven percent and another reporting eight percent rerupture rate following non-surgical early weight bearing protocols. Functional non-operative management is a relatively new bracing concept that involves early weight-bearing and range of motion. These two rehabilitation factors have shown to prevent detrimental alterations in muscle characteristics and increase maturation of collagen fibers during the tendon healing process. At this time the protocols for early weight bearing and early range of motion for non-surgical Achilles tendon repair and very inconsistent and are not research supported. It is clear that more research is warranted to help surgeons and patients justify their choice of surgical vs. nonsurgical repair and decide to participate in rehabilitation that incorporates early weight bearing and early range of motion. At this time, research does show that non-surgical repair with early weight bearing is a viable option that does not seem to increase risk of rerupture rate or other complications.