When Achilles tendon rupture puts the knee at risk

In my Dynamic Athlete Assessment Protocol seminar, I try to get people to break the shackles of what they think they know about muscle function, based on the traditional anatomical teachings they have learned.

It is one of the great AHAAAA moments of any seminar I have given. Thinking about the soleus as a major EXTENSOR of the knee for example, wait a minute, how can that be, it does not even insert above the knee? Well, you will have to come to the seminar to understand!

But a brand new paper underlines these principles beautifully. In it, the authors contend that a history of Achilles rupture is associated with greater knee extension during running than in healthy controls, which may increase risk of knee injury. 

The paper is entitled: Do athletes alter their running mechanics after an Achilles tendon rupture? and it is in the latest JAFAR, by Jandacka et al. Joe Hamill is 2nd author, so you know it is going to be a good read!

Let's take a look at the salient points.

Over the past thirty years, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of AT rupture (from 2 to 22 per 100,000 person-years) primarily in the athletic population. Despite all medical efforts, athletes with a history of AT rupture have been shown to have a substantially decreased performance in sports with running and jumping activities. Although up to 30% of these athletes end their sporting career after rupturing their AT, many manage to return to a physically active lifestyle.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical