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Return to play post-Achilles tendon rupture: a systematic review and meta-analysis of rate and measures of return to play


Aim This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to identify return to play (RTP) rates following Achilles tendon rupture and evaluate what measures are used to determine RTP.

Design A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed. Studies were assessed for risk of bias and grouped based on repeatability of their measure of RTP determination.

Data sources PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science and Scopus databases were searched to identify potentially relevant articles.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Studies reporting RTP/sport/sport activity in acute, closed Achilles tendon rupture were included.

Results 108 studies encompassing 6506 patients were included for review. 85 studies included a measure for determining RTP. The rate of RTP in all studies was 80% (95% CI 75% to 85%). Studies with measures describing determination of RTP reported lower rates than studies without metrics described, with rates being significantly different between groups (p<0.001).

Conclusions 80 per cent of patients returned to play following Achilles tendon rupture; however, the RTP rates are dependent on the quality of the method used to measure RTP. To further understand RTP after Achilles tendon rupture, a standardised, reliable and valid method is required.

  • Achilles
  • Sport
  • Physical activity
  • Achilles tendon
  • Assessment

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