Introduction Lower extremity tendinopathy is a common injury in athletes, but it can also develop in non-athletes [Rolf, 1997; De Jonge, 2012]. Because tendinopathy not only has negative effects on sports participation, but also on the ability to work and quality of life [Fearon, 2014; Van der Worp, 2011], preventive measures should be developed. The first step in the Van Mechelen model for prevention is to determine the extent of the problem [Van Mechelen, 1992]. The incidence and prevalence of lower extremity tendinopathy among specific sport populations have been established [Kujala 2005; Lian, 2005; Lopes 2012], but this information is largely lacking for the general population. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to determine the incidence and prevalence of lower extremity tendinopathy among the general population. The secondary aim was to investigate whether associated factors could be identified.
Methods A cross sectional study among the Academic General Practice Groningen was performed. The following tendinopathies were investigated: adductor tendinopathy, greater trochanteric pain syndrome, jumper’s knee, Achilles tendinopathy, and plantar fasciopathy. Using a combination of International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) codes, the electronic patient files were searched to identify cases of these tendinopathies in the year 2012. The number of prevalent and incident cases was divided by the number of person-years in the practice population to determine a prevalence rate (PR) and incidence rate (IR). The tendinopathy patients were compared to the general practice population with regard to age, gender, comorbidity, use of medication, and overweight using 95% confidence intervals.
Results Based on the electronic patient files, 126 prevalent and 112 incident cases were identified. The general practice population contained 10.651 person-years, resulting in a PR of 11.83 per 1000 person-years and an IR of 10.52 per 1000 person-years. Table 1 shows the tendinopathy-specific PR and IR. Lower extremity tendinopathy was more prevalent among older patients. No statistically significant differences between the tendinopathy patients and the general practice population were found with regard to gender, comorbidity, use of medication, or overweight.
Discussion The prevalence and incidence rates of lower extremity tendinopathy found in this study were 11.83 and 10.52 per 1000 person-years respectively, representing 3.9% en 3.0% of all complaints of the locomotor system seen by general practitioners in The Netherlands [Van der Linden, 2004]. Future research should focus on the aetiology and pathophysiology of lower extremity tendinopathy among the general population to facilitate the development of preventive interventions.
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