Morphological Characteristics of Passive and Active Structures of the Foot Across Populations With Different Levels of Physical Activity

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Background: Imaging diagnosis plays a fundamental role in the evaluation and management of injuries suffered in sports activities. Objective: To analyze the differences in the thickness of the Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, plantar fascia, and posterior tibial tendon in the following levels of physical activity: persons who run regularly, persons otherwise physically active, and persons with a sedentary lifestyle. Design: Cross-sectional and observational. Participants: The 91 volunteers recruited from students at the university and the Triathlon Club from December 2016 to June 2019. The data were obtained (age, body mass index, and visual analog scale for quality of life together with the ultrasound measurements). Results: Tendon and ligament thickness was greater in the runners group than in the sedentary and active groups with the exception of the posterior tibial tendon. The thickness of the Achilles tendon was greater in the runners than in the other groups for both limbs (P = .007 and P = .005). This was also the case for the cross-sectional area (P < .01) and the plantar fascia at the heel insertion in both limbs (P = .034 and P = .026) and for patellar tendon thickness for the longitudinal measurement (P < .01). At the transversal level, however, the differences were only significant in the right limb (P = .040). Conclusion: The thickness of the Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, and patellar tendon is greater in runners than in persons who are otherwise active or who are sedentary.

Reina-Martin, Ortega-Avila, and Gijon-Nogueron are with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing and Podiatry, University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain. Navarro-Ledesma is with the Department Physiotherapy, University of Granada, Melilla, Spain. Ortega-Avila and Gijon-Nogueron are also with the Institute of Biomedical Research in Málaga (IBIMA), University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain. Deschamps is with the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences—Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Group, KULeuven—Campus Brugge, Spoorwegstraat, Brugge, Belgium; the Division of Podiatry, Institut D’En-seignement Supérieur Parnasse Deux-Alice, Bruxelles, Belgium; and the Department of Podiatry, Artevelde University College, Ghent, Belgium. Martinez-Franco is with the Department of Podiatry, University of Seville, Sevilla, Spain. Luque-Suarez is with the Department of Physiotherapy, Institute of Biomedical Research in Málaga (IBIMA), University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain.

Ortega-Avila (anaortavi@uma.es) is corresponding author.
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