The incidence, aetiology, and treatment of achilles tendon injuries in army recruits: A pilot study

Wilkinson, Janet
Larmer, Peter
Reid, Duncan
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Achilles tendon injuries are common overuse injuries in military populations. However, limited research has been undertaken looking specifically at the incidence and aetiology in army recruits.

A pilot study was undertaken to investigate the incidence and aetiology of achilles tendinopathy in a group of 384 army recruits undertaking 12 weeks of intensive training. A descriptive questionnaire design was used to gather information. From this a total of 16 achilles tendon injuries were recorded during four intakes of recruits from the period January to August, 2003. An incident rate of 4.2% was recorded and a significant relationship (p<0.05) was shown between achilles tendon injury incidence, the female gender and footwear, indicating a problem with footwear in New Zealand Army recruits.

A further aim of the study was to review the current literature with respect to achilles tendinopathy, the anatomy and function, biomechanics, histopathology and management. A systematic review was also undertaken looking at eccentrictype loading programs for achilles tendinopathy. A search of Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, PEDro physiotherapy System, Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group, MEDLINE and CINAHL were used to identify studies from January, 1990 to August, 2003. The methodological quality of the papers was assessed using The Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group generic evaluation tool. Following the evaluation it was concluded that the papers scored from poor to moderate indicating that the overall clinical efficacy of eccentrictype loading programs for the treatment of achilles tendinopathy may be questionable and that further more robust trials are required before strong conclusions can be drawn.

New Zealand army , Physical training , Foot , Wounds and injuries
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