Midportion Achilles tendinosis and the plantaris tendon

Br J Sports Med. 2011 Oct;45(13):1023-5. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090217. Epub 2011 May 31.


Objectives: When re-operating patients with midportion Achilles tendinosis, having had a poor effect of ultrasound (US) and Doppler-guided scraping, the author found the involvement of the plantaris tendon to be a likely reason for the poor result. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of a plantaris tendon in close relation to the Achilles tendon in consecutive patients with midportion Achilles tendinosis undergoing treatment with US and Doppler-guided scraping.

Material and methods: This study includes 73 consecutive tendons with chronic painful midportion Achilles tendinosis, where US+Doppler examination showed thickening, irregular tendon structure, hypo-echoic regions, and localised high blood flow outside and inside the ventral Achilles midportion. The tendons were treated with US+Doppler-guided scraping, via a medial incision. If there was a plantaris tendon located in close relation to the medial Achilles, it was extirpated.

Results: An invaginated, or 'close by located', enlarged plantaris tendon was found in 58 of 73 (80%) tendons. Preliminary clinical results of the combined procedure, US + Doppler-guided surgical scraping and extirpation of the plantaris tendon, are very promising.

Conclusions: A thickened plantaris tendon located in close relation to the medial Achilles seems common in patients with chronic painful midportion tendinosis. The role of the plantaris tendon in midportion Achilles tendinosis needs to be further evaluated and should be kept in mind when treating this condition.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / surgery
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Reoperation
  • Tendinopathy / etiology*
  • Tendinopathy / pathology
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional