What is meant by a functional brace that can be worn after Achilles tendon rupture?

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. There is some difficulty with beginning early range of motion, in that the brace or orthosis must be removable which is more costly and requires patient compliance. Simply adding weight bearing to the early rehabilitation protocol, however is much easier, and involves changing casts to one that has a weight bearing device, such as a Bohler iron, added. There are several variations to functional braces that range from the non-removable early weight bearing casts with a Bohler Iron to the more technically advanced removable orthoses that can be adapted for early weight bearing.