Changing incidence of Achilles tendon rupture in Scotland: a 15-year study

Clin J Sport Med. 1999 Jul;9(3):157-60. doi: 10.1097/00042752-199907000-00007.


Objective: To determine the incidence of Achilles tendon rupture in Scotland from 1980 to 1995.

Design: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.

Setting: Data were obtained from the National Health Service Information and Statistics Division and analyzed in terms of age- and gender-specific incidence rates and time trends by age group.

Participants: A total of 4,201 patients with Achilles tendon ruptures occurring during the study period.

Main outcome measures: Calculation of incidence and of seasonality.

Results: The overall incidence of Achilles tendon rupture increased from 4.7/100,000 in 1981 to 6/100,000 in 1994, with a peak in 1986. In men, the incidence rose from 6.3/100,000 to 7.3/100,000. In women, the increase in incidence was more pronounced, from 3/100,000 to 4.7/100,000. In men, peak incidence rate occurred in the 30- to 39-year age group, whereas in women, the peak age-specific incidence occurred in those aged 80 years and older, with a steady increase after age 60. There was no evidence of a seasonality effect in the rate of occurrence of Achilles tendon rupture. A bimodal distribution of age at time of Achilles tendon rupture was noted.

Conclusion: There was a significant increase in the incidence of Achilles tendon rupture during the period from 1980 to 1995. This reflects the increased incidence of the injury noted in other Northern European countries.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / injuries*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Rupture / epidemiology
  • Sampling Studies
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology*