Achilles tendon rupture is often the result of a long-term degenerative process, frequently occurring asymptomatically.
To determine the prevalence of asymptomatic Achilles tendinopathy in an active, asymptomatic, young-adult population and to compare these findings across gender.
Convenience sample, cohort study.
A sample of 52 (28 male, 24 female) healthy, active subjects were recruited from the student body at the University of Connecticut. Images of 104 Achilles tendons were made.
Ultrasound images made with a Phillips HD11 with a 15-MHz real-time linear-array transducer were collected on both the longitudinal and transverse axes of the Achilles tendon. Activity level was measured with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form (IPAQ-SF).
Main Outcome Measure:
Presence of ultrasound evidence of Achilles tendinopathy as agreed on by 2 blinded assessors highly skilled in ultrasonography.
More subjects were categorized as highly active (57.4%) on the IPAQ-SF than moderately active (42.6%). One female and one male subject were found to have ultrasound evidence of asymptomatic Achilles tendinopathy, equaling 3.8% prevalence in this study.
We found a low prevalence of asymptomatic Achilles tendinopathy in an active, young-adult population. Further work is necessary to identify an optimal group warranting ultrasound screening for asymptomatic tendinopathy.
The authors are with the Kinesiology Dept, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.