gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Austria

Adaptation of patella and achilles tendon to different forms of loading patterns in young elite athletes

Meeting Abstract

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7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm115

doi: 10.3205/11esm115, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm1158

Published: October 24, 2011

© 2011 Riegels et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: In adult athletes Achilles (AT) and Patella tendon (PT) diameter is increased in high-impact sports compared to low-impact sports. However, it remains largely unknown whether different forms of loading patterns are associated with tendon hypertrophy in Young Elite Athletes. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate differences in AT and PT diameter in relation to loading patterns acting on the tendon.

Material/Methods: 27 Young Elite Athletes were divided into three groups according to their level of impact acting in sport (Group 1: swimming; n=10; 12.1±1.1y; 157.4±7.3cm; 45.5±8.3kg. Group 2: handball/soccer; n=9; 11.9±0.6y; 158.5±0.6cm; 48.5±12.9kg. Group 3: gymnastics; n=8; 11.5±1.4y; 144.1±8.9cm; 34.6±5.6kg) (Figure 1 [Fig. 1]). All athletes trained min. 4x/week since min. 2 years. AT and PT diameter [mm; mm/kg body weight] were analyzed by ultrasound (Xario Toshiba, 8MHz) in anterior-posterior direction 20 mm proximal to the tendon insertion. One way repeated measures ANOVA and post hoc Tukey-HSD was used to analyze differences between groups (α<0.05). Correlation between tendon thickness and bodyweight (BW) was calculated by Pearson Correlation Coefficient.

Results: Mean PT diameter for S was 3.5±0.5mm, for H 3.8±0.5mm and 3.7±0.6mm for G. There was no statistically significant difference between groups (p>0.05). Correlation between bodyweight and PT was r=0.393 (p=0.052). Normalized to bodyweight G showed statistically significant thicker PT compared to S (p=0.011). Mean AT diameter for S was 4.7±0.6mm, for H 5.5±0.3mm and 5.2±0.4mm for G. Comparing means a statistically significant difference between S and H (p=0.006), S and G (p=0.05) in absolute values and between S and G (p=0.002) in normalized diameter could be shown. Correlation between BW and AT diameter was not statistically significant (r=-0,170), (p=0,387).

Conclusion: It can be concluded, that AT and PT diameters adapt as well to bodyweight as to the degree of impact at the lower extremity even in young elite athletes.


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