Objective: To study the cumulative incidence of Achilles tendon rupture and tendinopathy among former top-level athletes.
Design: Historical cohort study.
Participants: Male former elite athlete cohort members (n = 785; median age, 69 years when responding to the questionnaire; range, 54-97) and their matched controls (n = 416; median age, 68 years; range, 56-94).
Outcome measurements: Questionnaire-reported Achilles tendinopathy and tendon rupture diagnosed by physicians before the age of 45 years and within the subjects' lifetimes.
Results: Cumulative incidence of Achilles tendinopathy before the age of 45 was high for middle and long-distance runners (adjusted odds ratio, 31.2 compared with controls; P < 0.001), and cumulative incidence of Achilles tendon rupture was high for sprinters (odds ratio, 14.9; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Achilles tendon problems seem to constitute clinically significant and common problems in specific sports.