Changes in tendon viscoelastic properties are observed after injuries and during healing as a product of altered composition and structure. Continuous Shear Wave Elastography is a new technique measuring viscoelastic properties of soft tissues using external shear waves. Tendon has not been studied with this technique, therefore, the aims of this study were to establish the range of shear and viscosity moduli in healthy Achilles tendons, determine bilateral differences of these parameters and explore correlations of viscoelasticity to plantar flexion strength and tendon area. Continuous Shear Wave Elastography was performed over the free portion of both Achilles tendons from 29 subjects. Isometric plantar flexion strength and cross sectional area were measured. The average shear and viscous moduli was 83.2-‰kPa and 141.0-‰Pa-s, respectively. No correlations existed between the shear or viscous modulus and area or strength. This indicates that viscoelastic properties can be considered novel, independent biomarkers. The shear and viscosity moduli were bilaterally equivalent (p-‰=-‰0.013, 0.017) which allows determining pathologies through side-to-side deviations. The average bilateral coefficient of variation was 7.2% and 9.4% for shear and viscosity modulus, respectively. The viscoelastic properties of the Achilles tendon may provide an unbiased, non-subjective rating system of tendon recovery and optimizing treatment strategies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine