Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Exercise and Sport Science
Purpose: Ultrasound tissue characterization (UTC) is an imaging tool used to quantify tendon structural integrity. UTC has quantified patellar tendon response to load in athletes; however, PT structure between two conversely loaded high volume sports has yet to be compared.
Methods: The JV Men's Basketball team (n=13) and Varsity Men's Swim team (n=13) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were imaged using the UTC device with a 10-MHz linear-array transducer mounted in a tracking device. The device captures images at 0.2mm intervals along the AT. UTC algorithms quantified the stability of pixel brightness over every 17 contiguous transverse images into 4 echo-types (I-IV). Participants completed a jump-landing task using the Electromagnetic Motion Capture System. The dominant limb of each participant was analyzed for patellar tendon structure and landing biomechanics. All participants completed a self-report training load questionnaire, including the validated PT assessment the VISA-P. Independent Samples T-tests, correlations and multiple linear regression model were used to assess association and correlation between tendon structure and measures of training intensity.
Results: 26 subjects completes this study. There was significant difference in tendon structure between basketball and swim athletes (p = 0.04) with basketball athletes presenting with significantly less aligned tendon structure. There was moderate association between training intensity and tendon structure. Discussion: Training intensity and training load may negatively influence patellar tendon structural integrity.