Soft-tissue radiography, computed tomography, and ultrasonography of partial Achilles tendon ruptures

Acta Radiol. 1990 Nov;31(6):565-70.


Ultrasonography (US) was compared with soft-tissue radiography (STR) and computed tomography (CT) for demonstration of partial Achilles tendon ruptures. Thirty-nine patients suffering from chronic localized painful Achilles tendon swelling were examined. The patients had all undergone a previous clinical examination, resulting in a suspicion of a non-healed partial tear in 62 out of the 78 tendons. STR showed unspecific tendon pathology such as thickening and diffuse tendon margins. CT resulted in a better delineation of intra- as well as extratendinous abnormalities compared to STR. Various pathologic changes were seen on CT in 54 tendons and in 29 of these, localized intratendinous hypodensities indicated partial ruptures. At US, abnormal changes were observed in 69 tendons, of which 54 had discontinuity of tendon fibers, focal hypoechoic areas, and localized swelling indicating partial ruptures. In 9 cases with surgically proven partial ruptures, US was correct in all cases, while CT was false-negative in 3. STR only showed localized swelling. It was concluded that US was a better method than STR and CT for the detection of partial ruptures and the US findings correlated well with the surgical findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / diagnostic imaging
  • Achilles Tendon / injuries*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rupture
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography