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Measuring Achilles Tendon Mechanical Properties: A Reliable, Noninvasive Method

Joseph, Michael F.1,2,3; Lillie, Kurtis R.2,3; Bergeron, Daniel J.2,3; Denegar, Craig R.1,2,3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 8 - p 2017–2020
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825bb47f
Technical Report

Joseph, MF, Lillie, KR, Bergeron, DJ, and Denegar, CR. Measuring Achilles tendon mechanical properties: A reliable, noninvasive method. J Strength Cond Res 26(8): 2017–2020, 2012. The purpose of this technical report is to describe a cost-effective and highly reliable methodology to measure mechanical and material properties of the Achilles tendon. Subjects are positioned on an isokinetic dynamometer time synchronized to a diagnostic ultrasound device. A tendon fascicle distal to the soleus is visualized during a ramped isometric maximal plantarflexion contraction. Excursion of the fascicle and tendon torque output yield a force-elongation curve in which mechanical characteristics and material properties are derived. Excellent intrasession and intersession reliabilities were observed for both the dynamometer (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] 0.99, 0.95) and excursion (ICC 0.99, 0.93) measures. Practical applications for this methodology include examination of training regimes for optimal tendon adaptation and rehabilitation in the presence of tendinopathy.

1Human Performance Laboratory

2Physical Therapy Program

3Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Address correspondence to Michael F. Joseph Kinesiology,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association