BACKGROUND: Chronic tears of the Achilles tendon can result in substantial loss of function. Those tears with a tendon gap of up to 6.5 cm can be treated surgically with use of an autologous peroneus brevis tendon graft. METHODS: At an average follow-up period of 15.5 years after the surgery, we examined sixteen of twenty-two patients who had undergone peroneus brevis tendon graft reconstruction for a chronic Achilles tendon tear. Clinical and functional assessment was performed. RESULTS: All sixteen patients were able to walk on tiptoe, and no patient used a heel lift or walked with a visible limp. The maximum calf circumference of the involved limb remained significantly decreased. The involved limb was significantly less strong than the contralateral one. One patient had developed a tendinopathy of the opposite Achilles tendon, one had developed a tendinopathy of the reconstructed tendon, and one had ruptured the contralateral Achilles tendon five years after the original injury. CONCLUSIONS: The long-term results of treatment of chronic tears of the Achilles tendon by means of autologous peroneus brevis tendon grafting are encouraging. Patients retain good functional results despite permanently impaired ankle plantar flexion strength and decreased calf circumference.
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