Ultrasound imaging of acute biceps tendon changes after wheelchair sports

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Mar;88(3):381-5. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2006.11.024.


Objectives: To investigate acute changes in the biceps tendon after a high-intensity wheelchair propulsion activity and to determine whether these changes are related to subject characteristics.

Design: The biceps tendon was imaged with ultrasound before and after wheelchair basketball or quad rugby. The average diameter of the tendon was calculated as well as the echogenicity ratio (the pixel intensity ratio of the biceps tendon to a reference just superficial to the tendon sheath).

Setting: National Veterans Wheelchair Games in 2004 and 2005.

Participants: Forty-two subjects who participated in wheelchair basketball or quad rugby at the Veterans Games.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Biceps tendon diameter and biceps echogenicity.

Results: The echogenicity ratio of the tendon significantly decreased from 1.97 to 1.73 after the event (P=.038). The diameter of the biceps tendon increased from 4.60 to 4.82 mm (P=.178). Also, it was found that the change in tendon diameter positively correlated with the time of play (P=.004).

Conclusions: Acute changes in biceps tendon properties after exercise were found and likely represent edema, a first sign of overuse injury. The significance of continuous activity was shown by the fact that subjects who had more playing time showed a larger increase in tendon diameter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Arm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arm / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Tendons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Wheelchairs*