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Ultrasound and Doppler findings in the Achilles tendon among middle-aged recreational floor-ball players in direct relation to a match
  1. M Fahlström1,2,
  2. H Alfredson1
  1. 1Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine Unit, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  1. Dr Martin Fahlström, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden; martin.fahlstrom{at}idrott.umu.se

Abstract

Objective In this study, structure, blood flow and thickness in the Achilles tendon related to tendon-loading activity were investigated.

Design Examination by ultrasound (US) and colour Doppler (CD) immediately before and after 1 h of floor-ball matchplay.

Setting Sports Medicine Unit, Umeå University, Sweden

Participants 36 Achilles tendons in 18 middle-aged (mean 39 years) recreational male floor-ball players.

Main outcome measurements Structure and high blood flow (HBF)/neovessels (NV) in the tendons were registered. Tendon thickness was measured 3 and 4.5 cm above the upper calcaneus and at the thickest part of the tendon.

Results The US examination showed that 11/36 tendons (30.5%) in nine individuals had structural changes before and after the floor-ball match. In 7/36 tendons (five with structural changes), there were HBF/NV before, and after, the match. In six of these seven tendons, the blood flow was higher after than before the match. In three more tendons (two with structural changes), there were HBF/NV after, but not before, the match.

After the match, mean tendon thickness had decreased significantly in both normal tendons and tendons with structural changes at the 3-cm level (6.0 (1.0) mm to 5.8 (0.9) mm; p<0.019), at the 4.5-cm level (5.7 (1.1) mm to 5.5 (1.0) mm; p<0.044), and at the thickest part (6.6 (1.1) mm to 6.3 (1.2) mm; p<0.000).

Conclusions In about 1/3 of the tendons, there were structural changes, about half of those tendons also had HBF/NV, which was higher after, than before, the match. Mean tendon thickness in both normal tendons and tendons with structural changes had decreased significantly after a 1-h floor-ball match.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

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