Sonographic evaluation of the effect of long-term exercise on Achilles tendon stiffness using shear wave elastography

Wai lam Siu, Chi ho Chan, Cheuk hei Lam, Chu man Lee, Tin Cheung Ying

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Design Case-control study. Methods A total of 36 healthy subjects aged 19–25 were recruited. Subjects were categorized into frequent and infrequent exercise groups dependent on their level of lower limb weight bearing exercise. B-mode and shear-wave ultrasound examination of Achilles tendon were performed. Measurements of the Achilles tendon stiffness were conducted with the foot position standardized by an ankle fixer. To evaluate inter and intra-operator reliability of Young's modulus measurements, each subject was scanned by three operators and each operator scanned the subject three times. Results The intra-operator reliability of Young's modulus measurements ranged between 0.803 and 0.845. The inter-operator measurement reliability was 0.585. Result showed that Achilles tendon on non-dominant ankle in frequent-exercisers (median: 320.1 kPa) was significantly stiffer than that in infrequent-exercisers (median: 296 kPa) (p < 0.05), whereas there was no significant difference in Achilles tendon stiffness on dominant ankle between the two groups (p > 0.05). Conclusions Shear wave elastography is feasible for assessing the Achilles tendon's stiffness in vivo. The stiffness of Achilles tendon of frequent-exercisers was significantly higher than that of infrequent-exercisers on non-dominant ankle but not on dominant ankle. With the use of an ankle fixer, there was high repeatability and moderate reproducibility in SWE measurement of Achilles tendon stiffness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-887
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Elastic modulus
  • Elasticity imaging techniques
  • Exercise physiology
  • Physical activity
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Sonographic evaluation of the effect of long-term exercise on Achilles tendon stiffness using shear wave elastography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this