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Surgery vs. Rehab: Heel Injuries and Disorders

You've probably seen it, professional athletes hobbling around in pain after tearing their Achilles tendon. It happens in amateurs and non-athletes, too.

In fact, the Achilles is the most commonly ruptured tendon in the body. In most cases, the first order of business is surgical repair. It's been believed that surgery reduces the rate of re-ruptures.

But a new Canadian study suggests a more conservative approach can be just as effective.

Data were analyzed from 10 different studies, including more than 800 people who had torn their achilles. 4-hundred-18 had surgery, while 4-hundred-8 were treated non-surgically using casts, splints and sometimes physiotherapy.

Those treated using "functional" rehabilitation that worked on their early range of motion fared just as well as those who were operated on. According to the data, the re-rupture rate for both treatment options was equivalent but the non-surgical approach produced fewer complications.

The catch, according to the researchers, patients who do not have access to advanced rehabilitation like this might still benefit best from surgery.

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