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Sonographic evaluation of achilles tendon thickness in elite track and field athletes: preliminary study
  1. Olga Kiritsi,
  2. Nikos Malliaropoulos,
  3. Konstantinos Tsitas,
  4. George Noussios
  1. National Track and Field Center, Sports Medicine Clinic, S.E.G/A.S., Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to measure Achilles tendon thickness in elite track and field athletes and to investigate any difference between dominant and non-dominant lower limb. Ultrasound examination of Achilles tendons was performed in 20 elite track and field athletes (12 males, 8 females; age range, 18–28 years). A control group of 20 healthy individuals, age and sex matched, was used. The thickness of the Achilles tendons was measured in the transverse plane at the level of the medial malleolus. True tendon thickness was evaluated and it was defined as thickness perpendicular to the greatest width of the tendon. For each participant, the Achilles tendons were measured by two operators. Mean Achilles tendon thickness was 5.37±0.78 mm in elite athletes and 4.66±0.65 mm in the control group. Mean thickness of the Achilles tendon in elite track and field athletes was significantly greater than mean thickness in healthy individuals (p=0.003). A significant result was also depicted between athletes and control groups in dominant lower limbs (athletes, 5.46±0.93 mm; control group, 4.71±0.57 mm, p=0.024) and in non-dominant limbs (athletes, non-dominant limb, 5.28±0.64mm; control, 4.47±0.74 mm; p=0.039). In addition no significant difference was observed in mean thickness of Achilles tendon between dominant and non-dominant limbs (p=0.454) in elite athletes as well as control individuals. Our outcome implies that Achilles tendon thickness is increased in elite track and field athletes.

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