Brief Report| Volume 41, ISSUE 6, P718-722, December 2011

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Achilles Tendon Rupture Must be Excluded in the Neutral, Non-fractured Ankle X-ray Study



      Rupture of the Achilles tendon (TA) is a common injury. Nevertheless, there is significant potential for missing the diagnosis on initial presentation. We investigated the potential role of lateral ankle X-ray studies in aiding diagnosis.


      To determine the potential role of radiographs of the ankle in assisting in the diagnosis of Achilles tendon ruptures.


      In a regional trauma unit, 27 patients with confirmed TA rupture at operation had the “tibio-first metatarsal angle” measured as an indication of ankle neutrality. A neutral ankle was defined as an angle of100°. Twenty-seven patients with intact TA were used as controls.


      The mean angle in the TA rupture group was 88° (range 70–120°) and 125° (104–146°) in the control group (p <0.001).


      In cases of TA rupture, the ankle adopts a more dorsiflexed position than in the ankle with an intact TA. We believe that an ankle joint adopting a neutral position on a lateral X-ray study of the ankle provides a clue to help reduce the rate of missed TA ruptures at initial presentation.


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