The incidence of acute and chronic conditions of the tendo Achillis appear to be increasing. Causation is multifactorial but the role of inherited genetic elements and the influence of environmental factors altering gene expression are increasingly being recognised. Certain individuals' tendons carry specific variations of genetic sequence that may make them more susceptible to injury. Alterations in the structure or relative amounts of the components of tendon and fine control of activity within the extracellular matrix affect the response of the tendon to loading with failure in certain cases.
This review summarises present knowledge of the influence of genetic patterns on the pathology of the tendo Achillis, with a focus on the possible biological mechanisms by which genetic factors are involved in the aetiology of tendon pathology. Finally, we assess potential future developments with both the opportunities and risks that they may carry.