There is a high return to sport rate but with reduced career lengths after Achilles tendon repair in Major League Soccer players

Kyle R. Sochacki, Robert A. Jack, Takashi Hirase, Patrick McCulloch, David M. Lintner, Kevin E. Varner, Pedro Cosculluela, Joshua D. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To determine (1) return to sport (RTS) rate in Major League Soccer (MLS) players following Achilles tendon repair, (2) postoperative career length and games per season, (3) preoperative and postoperative performance, and (4) postoperative performance compared with control players matched by position, age, body mass index, sex, years of experience and performance. Methods: Publicly available records were used to identify MLS players who underwent Achilles tendon repair with a minimum of 1 year follow-up. Demographic and performance data were collected for each player. Matched controls were identified. RTS was defined as playing in one or more MLS games after surgery. Comparisons between case and control groups and preoperative and postoperative time points were made using paired sample Student's t-tests. Results: Twenty-two players (mean age 28.4±4.0 years; mean 3.0±2.2 years follow-up) and 23 Achilles tendon repairs (one bilateral repair) were analysed. Seventeen players (18 Achilles tendon repairs; 77.3%) were able to RTS in the MLS at mean 306.6±199.2 days. Players who RTS after repair had shorter careers than matched controls (2.5±2.2 vs 4.5±3.0 seasons, respectively; p=0.021). Additionally, players who RTS after repair played in fewer games per season than matched controls (13.4±8.4 vs 23.2±6.5, respectively; p<0.001). There was no significant decrease in performance postsurgery compared with presurgery. Conclusion: There is a 77.3% RTS rate in the MLS following Achilles tendon repair. Following repair, players had shorter careers and played fewer games per season than matched controls. There was no significant decrease in performance postsurgery compared with presurgery nor in postsurgery compared with postindex. A significantly greater number of Achilles tendon tears occurred in the left versus the right lower extremity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of ISAKOS
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • ankle
  • outcome studies
  • sport specific injuries
  • tears
  • tendon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery

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