Achilles tendon injuries in athletes

Ann Chir Gynaecol. 1991;80(2):188-201.


During 1976-1986, 3,336 athletes consulted the Turku Sports Medical Research Unit, 455 (14%) of these for Achilles tendon injuries. Achilles tendon problems were more frequent among joggers (66%), tennis players (32%) and runners (24%), which emphasizes the aetiological role of running. Achilles tendon complaints (n = 698) consisted of paratenonitis (including tendinopathies) (66%), insertional (23%) and myotendineal (8%) pain syndromes and total tendon ruptures (3%). The mean age of Achilles tendon injury patients was 26.1 years; among other sport injury patients it was 21.9 years (P less than 0.001). Surgery was performed in 24% of the subjects with paratenonitis and insertional pains. Different structural faults were found in 60% of the athletes with Achilles tendon overuse injuries. Forefoot varus correlated (r = P less than 0.001) with paratenonitis. A markedly limited total passive subtalar joint mobility and/or ankle joint dorsiflexion with knee extended was found in 6% of the conscripts, in 44% of the control athletes and in 58% and 70% of athletes with Achilles tendon paratenonitis and insertional pains, respectively. The range of motion of the ankle and subtalar joints was much lower in athletes than conscripts (P less than 0.001).

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / injuries*
  • Achilles Tendon / surgery
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries* / surgery
  • Athletic Injuries* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rupture