Are lower limb tendon problems more common than you think?

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This survey of professional football players in Australia has shown that tendon problems, particularly Achilles and patellar tendinopathy, are much more common that previously reported.

This study has investigated the reported incidence of Achilles and patellar tendon injuries in a cohort of male professional (Australian rules) football players using the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (OSTRC) overuse questionnaire. The previously reported incidence of tendon problems in football, based on a traditional match-loss system of reporting, has been quite low. The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence) overuse injury questionnaire was developed and validated to improve the recording and quantification of overuse injuries. It involves four multiple- choice questions aim to quantify the impact of an injury on athletes’ participation, training volume, performance, and pain.

The results of this study suggest that tendinopathy may be much more common than previously reported. Between 20 and 25% of all players reported experiencing tendon pain during a single season (as recorded using the OSTRC) compared with 4.1% of players missing a game due to a tendon problem. A greater prevalence of both Achilles and patellar tendon pain was observed during the pre-season than in-season. It was proposed that this might be due to higher running loads as well as the sudden re-introduction of load during a period of unloading during the summer break. Older and taller athletes were also more likely to report pain.

The findings of this study may allow clinicians to better identify those at risk of tendon injury and to have a greater awareness of the possible impact of tendon problems. A carefully managed pre-season, especially for older players, may reduce the risk of developing tendinopathy. The authors note that in-season treatment of tendinopathy is often not successful and speculate that more aggressive treatment of these problems in the off-season might improve outcomes.

To learn more about tendon problems in the football complete the Ankle and Knee modules in the FIFA Diploma in Football Medicine.

Docking SI, Rio E, Cook J et al. The prevalence of Achilles and patellar tendon injuries in Australian Football players beyond a time-loss definition.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018 Mar 23. doi: 10.1111/sms.13086.

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16 mai 2018 17:32

Love this article. Our pro sport players often push through these « minor » injuries. I’d love to see how often the people who reported plantar or Achilles tendonopathy also had other non-impact injuries in the same season. I would suspect a high rate of compensation injuries that did cause players to miss games.

14 mai 2018 23:50

Au vue de l état des terrains ou le football se pratique en Afrique les risque des tendinopathie d Achille sont assez élevées

14 mai 2018 21:58

Les tendinopathies sont dues généralement soit à des micro traumatismes soit à la charge pendant la presaison et la saison soit à l âge du sportif ou même au terrain pratique et pas le moindre à l infiltration de corticoïdes qui fragilisent le tendon entraînant des ruptures partielles ou totales les paires de chaussure des sportifs sont aussi la cause
Et quand la chirurgie s’est nécessaire il faut la faire