Scientific Articles   |    
Dynamic Ultrasound Assessment of the Effects of Knee and Ankle Position on Achilles Tendon Apposition Following Acute Rupture
Assad A. Qureshi, MSc, MRCS1; Talal Ibrahim, MD, FRCS(Tr&Orth)2; Winston J. Rennie, MSc, FRCR2; Andrew Furlong, FRCS(Tr&Orth)2
1 Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE5 4PW, United Kingdom. E-mail address: qureshi123@doctors.org.uk
2 Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (T.I.), Department of Radiology (W.J.R.), and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (A.F.), Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW, United Kingdom
View Disclosures and Other Information
Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

  • Disclosure statement for author(s): PDF

Investigation performed at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, United Kingdom

Copyright © 2011 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2011 Dec 21;93(24):2265-2270. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.J.01757
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case



Previous reports have suggested that knee flexion improves tendon edge apposition following acute rupture of the Achilles tendon. The aim of the present study was to determine, with use of ultrasonography, the effects of knee and ankle position on the Achilles tendon gap distance in patients with an acute rupture.


Twenty-six patients with a unilateral acute complete Achilles tendon rupture that had been confirmed with ultrasonography were recruited within a week after the injury. The mean age at the time of presentation was forty-one years. Ultrasound measurements included the location of the rupture and the gap distance between the superficial tendon edges with the ankle in neutral and the knee extended. The gap distance was sequentially measured with the foot in maximum equinus at the ankle and with 0°, 30°, 60°, and 90° of knee flexion.


The mean distance of the rupture from the calcaneal enthesis was 52 mm (range, 40 to 76 mm). The mean gap distance with the ankle in neutral and the knee extended was 12 mm (95% confidence interval, 10 to 13 mm). This distance decreased to 5 mm (95% confidence interval, 4 to 7 mm) when the foot was placed in maximum ankle equinus with 0° of knee flexion and to 4 mm (95% confidence interval, 3 to 5 mm) with 30° of knee flexion, 3 mm (95% confidence interval, 2 to 4 mm) with 60° of knee flexion, and 2 mm (95% confidence interval, 1 to 2 mm) with 90° of knee flexion. Expressing the reduction in gap distance with each successive position as a percentage of the gap distance with the knee extended and the ankle in neutral revealed a mean reduction of 55.7%, 64.4%, 75.4%, and 84.8% with maximum ankle equinus and 0°, 30°, 60°, and 90° of knee flexion, respectively. The difference in gap distance between each of these positions was significant (p < 0.05).


Maximum ankle equinus alone significantly reduces the gap distance after acute Achilles tendon rupture. Increasing knee flexion further reduces the gap distance by small increments that, although significant, may not be clinically important.

Clinical Relevance: 

These findings may play an important role in the closed treatment of acute rupture of the Achilles tendon.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    CA - Mercy Medical Group
    LA - Ochsner Health System
    GA - Choice Care Occupational Medicine & Orthopaedics