Simmonds-Thompson Test

Description

Simmonds-Thompson test is a diagnostic tool for Achilles tendon rupture. The absence of foot plantarflexion on calf compression is interpreted as a positive test result and indicative of Achilles tendon rupture

Simmonds-Thompson test result should be considered positive when the physical response to calf squeezing is aberrant and the foot fails to plantarflex owing to incongruity of the Achilles tendon, indicative of rupture


History

1957Sam Simmonds described a test for Achilles tendon integrity consisting of two signs:

  • the injured foot is in a prone position in less equinus than the uninjured one.
  • on calf compression, the injured foot fails to plantarflex

1962TC Thompson had observed these same findings in a patient with an acute Achilles tendon rupture in 1955. He examined cadavers and noted that calf compression in the presence of a tear of <90% of the soleus still resulted in ipsilateral foot plantar-flexion. TCT published his findings in 1962

Thompson-Test-1962
Original drawing of Thompson test 1962

1990 – Copeland introduced use of the sphygmomanometer to the test. [1990 Jul; 72(4): 270–271.]

1992 – Scott and al Chalabi further detailed the mechanics of the positive Simmonds-Thompson test result showing that it was indicative of an essentially fully ruptured Achilles tendon. [JBJS 1992; 74(2): 314-5.]


Associated Persons

Alternative names
  • Simmonds Test
  • Thompson Test
  • Calf squeeze Test

Controversies

Interestingly, debate sometimes ensues regarding whether the test is positive when the foot plantarflexes on compression of the calf or is positive when the foot fails to plantarflex. The test result should be considered positive when the physical response to calf squeezing is aberrant and the foot fails to plantarflex owing to incongruity of the Achilles tendon.

For clarity a commonly used and more pragmatic way to describe the findings is: ‘there is a presence or absence of plantar flexion with Simmonds-Thompson’


References

eponymictionary CTA

eponymictionary

the names behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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