Return to Play after Achilles Tendon Rupture
Achilles tendon ruptures mainly occurs in middle aged adults, males > females, participating in sports with high levels of jumping or high force activity. The repair and recovery time of these tendon ruptures is lengthy due to the post operative immobilization, weight bearing, and exercise restrictions. Prior research has shown only 1 in 2 athletes returns to play at 1 year post op. Among these athletes who do not return some may either choose not to return to their previous sport due to fear of reinjury while others have placed themselves at greater risk of injury due to not restoring their leg's strength, balance, agility, and coordination to pre injury levels.
A recent article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed the available evidence to determine an athlete's ability to return to play after achilles tendon repair. (Zellers et al. 2016). The authors reviewed 108 studies of over 6500 patients and found on average 80% of athletes return to play at pre injury levels. The average time to return to sport after a course of Physical Therapy was 6 months.
Athletes are encouraged to use Physical Therapy following an Achilles Tendon injury to accelerate their healing and improve their chances of recovery.