Tendinopathy alters mechanical and material properties of the Achilles tendon

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Mar;108(3):670-5. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00259.2009. Epub 2009 Nov 5.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the in vivo material and mechanical properties of the human Achilles tendon in the presence of tendinopathy. Real-time ultrasound imaging and dynamometry were used to assess Achilles tendon stiffness, Young's modulus, stress, strain, and cross-sectional area (CSA) in 12 individuals with Achilles tendinopathy and 12 age- and gender-matched controls. The results of this study suggest that tendinopathy weakens the mechanical and material properties of the tendon. Tendinopathic tendons had greater CSA, lower tendon stiffness, and lower Young's modulus. These alterations in mechanical characteristics may put the Achilles tendon at a higher risk to sustain further injury and prolong the time to recovery. Results from this study may be used to design treatment strategies that specifically target these deficits, leading to faster and permanent recovery from tendinopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / diagnostic imaging
  • Achilles Tendon / physiopathology*
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology*
  • Torque
  • Ultrasonography