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Am J Sports Med. 2010 Sep;38(9):1885-93. doi: 10.1177/0363546510366234. Epub 2010 May 27.

Mechanical properties of the achilles tendon aponeurosis are altered in athletes with achilles tendinopathy.

Author information

1
Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, The School of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. sallychild@bigpond.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Achilles tendinopathy is a considerable problem for active people. The degenerative processes associated with tendinopathy may be associated with changes in the inherent mechanical properties of the musculotendinous unit.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to compare Achilles tendon-aponeurosis strain between male athletes with and without Achilles tendinopathy.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS:

Fifteen healthy men (age, 35 +/- 9 years; height, 1.78 +/- 0.05 m; mass, 79 +/- 11 kg) and 14 men with midportion Achilles tendinopathy (age, 40 +/- 8 years; height, 1.77 +/- 0.06 m; mass, 80 +/- 9 kg) who were all running over 20 km per week participated in the study. Each participant was tested in a single session that involved maximal isometric plantar flexion efforts being performed on a calf-raise apparatus while synchronous real-time ultrasonography of the triceps surae aponeurosis was recorded. Achilles tendon-aponeurosis strain (%) was calculated by dividing tendon displacement during plantar flexion by resting tendon length (intrarater reliability: intraclass correlation coefficient = .92).

RESULTS:

Participants in the Achilles tendinopathy group (5.2% +/- 2.6%) had significantly (P = .039) higher Achilles tendon-aponeurosis strain compared with the control group (3.4% +/- 1.8%). In contrast, there were no significant between-group differences for maximal isometric plantar flexion force.

CONCLUSION:

Achilles tendon-aponeurosis strain is higher in male athletes with tendinopathy than those without. The results of this study provide a rationale for current clinical approaches to management of Achilles tendinopathy, whereby repetitive mechanical loading may impart a positive benefit through reduced compliance of the musculotendinous unit.

PMID:
20508077
DOI:
10.1177/0363546510366234
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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