Background Describe patterns of ultrasound and elastography in patellar and achilles tendons in a population of young footballers, jumpers and sprinters.
Methods We studied 48 athletes (7 female and 41 male) aged between 15 and 26 years; 24 of them are from a youth soccer team in the national first division and 24 high performance jumpers and sprinters. The information was obtained by Esaote -my lab ultrasound and performed in all cases by the same observer. The 192 tendons were studied in relation to their diameter, presence of vessels within the tendons and their elastography.
Results The average diameter was between 4.63 and 4.82 mm including achilles and patellar. Most tendons showed no vessels (88.55%). The elastography pattern was predominantly "medium hard" (in classification by points 0–4, prevailed 2–3) and described the patellar stiffer than achilles. There were 14 tendons equal or larger than 6mm of diameter and 22 tendons were detected with vessels. These last 36 tendons were assessed as pathological status and the 11% of these produced athlete symptoms.
Discussion The eco-elastographic screening of athlete's tendons could be used since an early age to detect changes related to diseases occurring along the sporting life. Defining patterns is of great importance because it can be used to detect early changes and it is a way to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these pathologies.