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Br J Sports Med. 2006 Mar;40(3):272-4.

Prospective study of change in patellar tendon abnormality on imaging and pain over a volleyball season.

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  • 1La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia.



Patellar tendon injury, defined by tendon abnormality (TA) on imaging and by pain, is common among volleyball players, but little is known about change in this injury over a volleyball season. Increased activity in the season compared with the off season may result in the development of TA and/or pain. This study investigated the behaviour of TA and pain over a competitive volleyball season.


Tendon abnormality and pain were measured in 101 volleyball players at the beginning and end of a season. Pain was measured with the single leg decline squat test, which loads the patellar tendon, and TA was detected with ultrasound imaging. Hours of weekly activity were measured and compared during the season and the off season. The proportion of tendons that underwent development and resolution in TA and/or pain over the season was investigated.


Hours of weekly activity was greater during the season than in the off season. Most of the tendons investigated (66.3%) did not undergo a change in TA or pain over the season. Tendon abnormality and/or pain developed in 16.6% of tendons and resolved in 11.2%.


The tendons of volleyball players respond variably to the increased load over the season. Change in TA and pain does not appear to be entirely dependent upon load.

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