Background: The Plantaris Longus Tendon (PLT) may be implicated in Achilles (AT) tendinopathy. Different mechanical characteristics may be the cause. This study is designed to measure these.
Methods: Six PLT and six AT were harvested from frozen cadavers (aged 65-88). Samples were stretched to failure using a Minimat 2000™ (Rheometric Scientific Inc.). Force and elongation were recorded. Calculated tangent stiffness, failure stress and strain were obtained. Averaged mechanical properties were compared using paired, one-tailed t-tests.
Results: Mean stiffness was higher (p<0.001) in the PLT, measuring 5.71 N/mm (4.68-6.64), compared with 1.73 N/mm (1.40-2.22) in AT. Failure stress was also higher (p<0.01) in PLT: 1.42 N/mm(2) (0.86-2.23) AT: 0.20 N/mm(2) (0.16-0.25). Failure strain was less (p<0.05) in PLT: 14.1% (11.5-16.8) than AT: 21.8% (14.9-37.9).
Conclusions: The PLT is stiffer, stronger than AT, demonstrating potential for relative movement under load. The stiffer PLT could tether AT and initiate an inflammatory response.
Copyright © 2010 European Foot and Ankle Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.