Background: Population-based incidence rates and trends of acute Achilles tendon ruptures are not known. It is also not known whether recent high-quality randomized controlled trials not favoring surgery have had an effect on treatment protocols.
Purpose: To assess the incidence of acute Achilles tendon ruptures in Sweden and to examine the trends in surgical treatment.
Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study.
Methods: We conducted a nationwide registry-based study including all adult (≥18 years of age) inpatient and outpatient hospital visits because of an acute Achilles tendon rupture in Sweden between 2001 and 2012.
Results: We identified a total of 27,702 patients (21,979 men, 79%) with acute Achilles tendon ruptures between 2001 and 2012. In 2001, the sex-specific incidence of acute Achilles tendon ruptures was 47.0 (per 100,000 person-years) in men and 12.0 in women. In 2012, the corresponding values were 55.2 in men and 14.7 in women, with an increase of 17% in men and 22% in women. The proportion of surgically treated patients declined from 43% in 2001 to 28% in 2012 in men and from 34% in 2001 to 22% in 2012 in women.
Conclusion: The incidence of acute Achilles tendon ruptures in Sweden is increasing. The most probable reason for this increase is the rise in the number of older adults participating in high-demand sports. The proportion of surgically treated patients is decreasing most likely because of recent high-quality randomized controlled trials and their meta-analyses supporting similar results between surgical and nonsurgical approaches.
Keywords: Achilles tendon; epidemiology; incidence; injury; surgical treatment.
© 2014 The Author(s).