Blood flow of the Achilles tendon during military training

Int J Sports Med. 2010 Dec;31(12):901-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1267159. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the vascular response of the Achilles tendon as indicated by power Doppler activity during a military training program of 6 weeks. 49 male military recruits (98 tendons) volunteered for this study. Before and during the military training program, the Achilles tendons were screened with gray-scale ultrasonography and power Doppler US. Reactive tendinopathies of the Achilles tendons were registered by means of a clinical examination, VAS-scores and VISA-A scores. The US examination, the clinical examination, VAS-scores and VISA-A scores showed that 13/98 tendons developed a reactive tendinopathy. 3 of these 13 symptomatic tendons showed intratendinous Doppler activity. In these tendons, pain was always present before the vascular response of the Achilles tendon. Both pain and hypervascularisation remained visible till the end of the basic military training. In 5 asymptomatic tendons with no structural changes of the tendon, a vascular response was seen during one single measurement. It can be hypothesized that there is no relationship between the vascular response of the Achilles tendon and the pain in a reactive tendinopathy. In a reactive tendinopathy, other pain mechanisms must be investigated in future research.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / blood supply*
  • Achilles Tendon / diagnostic imaging
  • Achilles Tendon / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Tendinopathy / etiology*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods