Several meta-analyses comparing early functional rehabilitation and traditional immobilization following surgical Achilles tendon repair after acute rupture have been published. However, they have led to conflicting conclusions. The aims of this systematic review were to select high-quality meta-analyses from multiple discordant meta-analyses and to provide a postoperative rehabilitation strategy following surgical repair using currently available evidence. We performed a comprehensive search using the PubMed and Embase databases and the Cochrane Library. Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) instrument was used to assess the methodological quality. Three investigators independently applied the Jadad decision algorithm. Their results were then compared to ensure selection of a meta-analysis that provided the highest quality of evidence. Six meta-analyses met the eligibility criteria. AMSTAR scores ranged from 6 to 10. According to the Jadad decision algorithm, a high-quality meta-analysis with a greater number of RCTs was selected. This meta-analysis showed that early functional rehabilitation was superior to cast immobilization in terms of patient satisfaction and the time to return to pre-morbid sporting levels. There were no differences regarding major complications or the time before return to prior employment and sporting activity. Thus, we recommend early functional rehabilitation as the postoperative strategy for acute Achilles tendon ruptures.
Zhao, J. G., Meng, X. H., Liu, L., Zeng, X. T., & Kan, S. L. (2017). Early functional rehabilitation versus traditional immobilization for surgical Achilles tendon repair after acute rupture: A systematic review of overlapping meta-analyses. Scientific Reports, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep39871