Integrity of tissue structure in Achilles tendinopathy
A high proportion of patients presenting with Achilles tendinopathy develop symptoms in both tendons. The current study investigated the tendon structure in the symptomatic and asymptomatic tendons of patients with unilateral Achilles tendinopathy, and compared these findings to a control group of normal tendons utilising Ultrasound Tissue Characteristics (UTC).
21 subjects with Achilles tendinopathy were compared to a control group consisting of 6 participants. The results showed significant differences in the proportion of normal tendon structure between the symptomatic, asymptomatic and control tendons. Normal tendon structure was least in the symptomatic tendons (79.5%). Most interestingly, the asymptomatic tendons contained significantly less normal tendon structure in comparison to the control tendon.
These findings suggest that the asymptomatic tendon is structurally compromised despite the absence of symptoms. Further studies are needed to determine the significance of these results, and to gauge whether these changes increase the risk of developing symptoms in the contralateral tendon in patients with Achilles tendinopathy.