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.