Tendon Morphology and Mechanical Properties Are Associated With the Recovery of Symptoms and Function in Patients With Achilles Tendinopathy

Patrick Corrigan, Daniel H. Cortes, Ryan T. Pohlig, Karin Grävare Silbernagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Achilles tendinopathy is a debilitating overuse injury characterized by pain, altered Achilles tendon structure, and impaired functional performance. Evaluating tendon structure as part of the physical examination may help establish a well-defined prognosis. However, the usefulness of measuring tendon structure for developing a prognosis has been questioned since structural abnormalities can exist without symptoms. Purpose: To determine whether initial measures of tendon morphology and mechanical properties were associated with patient-reported symptoms and calf muscle endurance at baseline, 6-month follow-up, and 1-year follow-up by prospectively following a cohort of individuals with Achilles tendinopathy. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. Methods: A total of 59 participants with midportion or insertional Achilles tendinopathy completed an initial assessment and follow-up assessments at 6 months and 1 year. At the initial assessment, patient-reported symptoms, calf muscle endurance, and Achilles tendon thickening were evaluated, and Achilles tendon mechanical properties were estimated. At the 6-month and 1-year follow-up assessments, patient-reported symptoms and calf muscle endurance were reevaluated. Results: Greater Achilles tendon thickening at the initial assessment was consistently associated with worse patient-reported symptoms and calf muscle endurance at each assessment. Changes in symptoms over the year were moderated by the initial shear modulus of the tendon, with a lower shear modulus associated with less improvement in symptoms. Lower viscosity at the initial assessment was also associated with worse calf muscle endurance at each assessment. Conclusion: Measures of tendon morphology and mechanical properties appear to be associated with patient-reported symptoms and calf muscle function for patients with Achilles tendinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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