Are Achilles tendon injuries the new ACL? 8/22

By Sports Medicine and Performance Center Staff
Posted: August 23, 2018 - 5:57 AM

Chiefs fans have seen Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry both suffer Achilles tendon injuries in the last few seasons.

Bryan Vopat, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at The University of Kansas Health System Sports Medicine and Performance Center, discusses whether Achilles tendon injuries are increasing in athletes. Even though it's your body's largest, strongest tendon, it can be sensitive to harm.

Below is a Q&A Dr. Vopat did on Achilles tendon injuries.

Q: It seems we hear about Achilles injuries all the time. Are they becoming more common?

A: I wouldn't necessarily say there's a trend toward more Achilles injuries. It may seem so because media coverage is more prevalent. When a higher profile athlete suffers damage, we become more aware of it because it's in the media.

Q: Is this injury common in high school or college athletes?

A: We don't generally see a lot of Achilles injuries in high school athletes. We do see some in college athletes. The biggest increase in this type of injury occurs as we get older. Achilles injuries are still relatively rare in high school and college athletes.

Q: Can you talk about how the increase in the size of athletes might affect these types of injuries?

A: There's a theory that the increased bulk, size and explosiveness of athletes may lead to more Achilles tears or ruptures. While we haven't quite seen that, it is a valid theory.

The thought is that being stronger or faster can cause more force to go across ligaments and tendons, creating damage.

Q: Who's at risk for an Achilles injury?

For the rest of the Q&A click here

For more sports medicine articles and information on the Sports Medicine & Performance Center at the University of Kansas Health System, go to or follow @KUSportsMed on twitter.




The University of Kansas Hospital Sports Medicine Archive