Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics (2020-10-01)

Long-term Outcomes of Immediate Weightbearing with Anchorless Achilles Debridement and Secondary Reconstruction for Insertional Achilles Tendonopathy

  • Thomas B. Bemenderfer MD, MBA,
  • Jacob B. Boersma,
  • John D. Maskill MD,
  • John G. Anderson MD,
  • Donald R. Bohay MD, FACS

DOI
https://doi.org/10.1177/2473011420S00123
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5

Abstract

Read online

Category: Hindfoot; Sports Introduction/Purpose: Achilles debridement and secondary reconstruction is a widely accepted procedure for treatment of insertional Achilles tendonopathy with or without Haglund resection, calcaneus exostectomy, retrocalcaneal bursectomy, and possible flexor hallucis longus tendon transfer. When less than 50% of the tendon is pathologic and elevated from the calcaneus, primary reconstruction with or without bony fixation (bone tunnels or anchors) has been advocated. Postoperative protocols demonstrate wide variability in the orthopaedic literature. This study is the first to evaluate clinical and radiographic outcomes in patients with insertional Achilles tendonopathy who underwent soft tissue only Achilles debridement and secondary reconstruction with immediate plantigrade weightbearing in plantigrade foot ankle stabilizer (FAS) high walking boot. Methods: All patients with symptomatic insertional Achilles tendonopathy who failed conservative management underwent Achilles debridement and secondary reconstruction with or without Haglund resection, calcaneus exostectomy, and retrocalcaneal bursectomy by a single senior foot and ankle surgeon at a single tertiary center between January 2006 to December 2013 were included in our retrospective case series. Patients with greater than 50% involvement of the tendon requiring flexor hallucis longus transfer were excluded. Demographics, clinical outcomes, patient comorbidity information, and Coughlin satisfaction scores were collected. The primary outcome was change in visual analog scale (VAS) pain score. Secondary outcomes were reoperation, minor complications (local wound care, use of antibiotics, and skin dehiscence). Results: From 2006 to 2013, 66 patients (40.9% male, 59.1% female) at an average age of 53.6 years (range 19 to 78) underwent Achilles debridement and secondary reconstruction. At final average follow up of 4.3 years, average VAS score improved from 5.9 to 2.3 preoperatively to postoperatively. There were a total of 10 reoperations in 9.1% of patients (n=6). Minor complications were present in 12.1% of patients (n=8; 3 local wound care, 8 use of antibiotics, and 5 skin dehiscence). Physical therapy desensitization was utilized in 25.8% of patients (n=17). Conclusion: The present study demonstrates a significant improvement in VAS pain scores following Achilles debridement and secondary reconstruction for treatment of insertional Achilles tendonopathy with immediate plantigrade weightbearing in plantigrade FAS high walking boot. This technique appears to be safe and effective.