Acute and Long-Term Effects of Mechanotherapy on the Outcome After an Achilles Repair: A Prospective Cohort Study With Historical Controls



      To evaluate the effects of vibration on Achilles’ tendon microcirculation and characteristics following surgical repair of Achilles’ tendon rupture.


      Cohort study with historical controls.


      A university institute.


      Participants (N=32), including 19 (16 men, 3 women; median [range] age: 43.0 [25.0-57.0] years) and 13 (10 men, 3 women; 44.00 [29.0-60.0] years) in the vibration (application to the ball of the foot, 30Hz, 2mm amplitude, 4kg pressure, and self-administration) and control groups, respectively, who underwent unilateral Achilles’ tendon repairs were recruited.


      A 4-week vibration intervention in the vibration group.

      Main Outcome Measurements

      The tendon microcirculation was measured after the first session of vibration. The participants were evaluated repeatedly with bilateral follow-up measurements of tendon stiffness, 3 functional outcome tests, and a questionnaire survey.


      Acute effects of the vibration were observed immediately after the 5-minute vibration (P≤.001). Lower total hemoglobin and oxygen saturation were respectively observed (P=.043) in the repaired legs 3 and 6 months postsurgery in the vibration group as compared with the control group. The vibration group also showed greater tendon stiffness, heel raising height and hopping distance 3 or 6 months postoperation in both the repaired and noninjured legs (all P<.05). The microcirculatory characteristics 2 months postoperation were correlated with the outcomes at 6 months postoperation.


      Differences in microcirculatory characteristics and better rehabilitation outcomes were observed in the legs with an Achilles repair that underwent the early vibration intervention.


      List of abbreviations:

      IPC (intermittent pneumatic compression), StO2 (oxygen saturation), THb (total hemoglobin)
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