Badminton - Achilles Tendon Rupture

 

Overuse injuries are the predominant injury mechanism for badminton players (Jorgenson et al 1987). However, Achilles tendon ruptures are most commonly seen in badminton players (Danish study). The combination of high loads applied rapidly with directional changes can overload and completely rupture this tendon.

 

A two year study by Kaalund et al (1989) in Demark reported that 40% of Achilles tendon ruptures were seen in Badminton players with only 18% being attributed to football which was the country’s most popular sport.

 

The sports specific demands placed on this tendon when playing badminton is extreme. In mechanical terms the tendon has to cushion and absorb the impact load from the player landing from a jump (often moving backwards). On landing the player will rapidly move in another direction often forwards which adds to the already fully loaded tendon.

 

The exact injury mechanism when playing badminton is not known. However, multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors are considered to contribute to the development of this condition see table below:

 

Intrinsic Factors

-          Body weight

-          Player age

-          Existing injury

 

Extrinsic Factors

-          Footwear

-          Surface played on

-          Intensity of match play

-          Temperature of playing area

 

A prior history of Achilles pain was observed as a pre-sequel to complete Achilles rupture in 16% (Fahlstrom et al 1998) and 20.5% Kaaland et al (1989). Fahlstrom et al (1998) reported that in their study a prior history of stretching / warm up did not prevent / limit the incidence of this injury.

 

Interestingly, both studies arrived at the same average age of 36 for their patients with Achilles tendon rupture, and reported that the injuries most frequently occur in the latter half of the game which they attribute in part to player fatigue (Kaaland et al 1989, Fahlstrom et al 1998).

 

Fahlstrom et al (1998) concluded that the big three components influencing this injury were increasing player age, increased activity and a history of prior Achilles injury. 

 

This author considers that specific training to develop endurance, strength and co-ordination can play a key role and has the potential to reduce the risk of Achilles tendon rupture.

 

Strength conditioning and Badminton Injury management available at Cardiff Physiotherapy Clinic,

Physio4motion, Call:  07949820976

 

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References - Achilles Injuries 

 

Fahlström M.,  Björnstig U., Lorentzon R. (1998).

Achilles Tendon Rupture Rupture in Badminton Players.

Am J Sports Med. 1998 May-Jun; 26(3):467-70.

 

Jørgensen U., Winge S. (1987).

Epidemiology of badminton injuries.

Int J Sports Med. 1987 Dec; 8(6):379-82.

 

Kaalund S., Lass P., Høgsaa B., Nøhr M. (1989).

Achilles tendon rupture in badminton.

Br J Sports Med 1989; 23:102-104. 

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