Age related blood flow around the Achilles tendon during exercise in humans

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001 Mar;84(3):246-8. doi: 10.1007/s004210170013.


Injuries due to the overuse of tendons increase with age, and it has been suggested that this correlates with hypovascularity of the tendon. In the present study, the peritendinous blood flow was determined using xenon-133 washout at rest and during standardised intermittent exercise of the calf-muscle (1.5 s contraction, 1.5 s rest, 40 min) in young (n = 6; 26 years), middle-aged (n = 6; 48 years), and older (n = 6; 74 years) individuals. At rest, the older individuals had a lower peritendinous blood flow compared with the two other age groups. During exercise, blood flow in all three groups rose 2.5-3.5-fold to reveal similar blood flows [2.7 (SEM 0.5) to 7.8 (SEM 1.0) ml.100 g tissue-1 min-1 (young group); 3.0 (SEM 0.4) to 7.3 (SEM 1.6) ml.100 g tissue-1 min-1 (middle-aged group); 1.6 (SEM 0.2) to 5.5 (SEM 1.1) ml 100 g tissue-1.min-1 (older group)]. The findings demonstrated that the peritendinous blood flow to the zone of the tendon with the highest incidence of injury from overuse is unaltered by age during exercise, and indicates that factors other than blood flow are important for the increased incidence with age of injuries from overuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / blood supply*
  • Achilles Tendon / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Rest / physiology