Friday, 4 July 2008

Achilles Tendon Doppler Flow May Be Associated With Mechanical Load Among Active Athletes.

Am J Sports Med. 2008 Jul 1.

Malliaras P, Richards PJ, Garau G, Maffulli N.
Brunel University.
BACKGROUND: Tendon Doppler flow may be associated with tendon pain in symptomatic patients, but the relationship between Doppler flow and pain among athletes who are still competing is unclear. HYPOTHESIS: Among active athletes, Doppler flow may partly reflect tendon adaptation to increased mechanical load and/or asymptomatic tendinopathy. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3. METHODS: The Achilles tendons of 61 badminton players (24 elite, 37 recreational) were examined with gray-scale and color Doppler ultrasound. Achilles tendon pain and activity level (badminton training, badminton playing, badminton years) were measured. RESULTS: Doppler flow was not associated with current Achilles tendon pain but was associated with an increased anteroposterior tendon diameter (an indicator of tendinopathy) (P = .02). Athletes who had been playing badminton for longer were more likely to have Doppler flow (P < .01), and there was a trend toward an association between a greater number of badminton playing hours per week and Doppler flow (P = .07). CONCLUSION: Achilles tendon Doppler flow appears to be a sign of asymptomatic tendinopathy rather than pain among active athletes. The association between weekly badminton hours and badminton years and Doppler flow suggests that Doppler flow may be a response to mechanical load in this cohort.

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