5 years ago

Achilles Tendon Load is Progressively Increased with Reductions in Walking Speed

imageIntroduction: Achilles tendon rehabilitation protocols commonly recommend a gradual increase in walking speed to progressively intensify tendon loading. This study used transmission-mode ultrasound to evaluate the influence of walking speed on loading of the human Achilles tendon in vivo. Methods: Axial transmission speed of ultrasound was measured in the right Achilles tendon of 33 adults (mean ± SD: age, 29 ± 3 yr; height, 1.725 ± 0.069 m; weight, 71.4 ± 19.9 kg) during unshod, steady-state treadmill walking at three speeds (slow, 0.85 ± 0.12 ms; preferred, 1.10 ± 0.13 m·s−1; fast, 1.35 ± 0.20 m·s−1). Ankle kinematics, spatiotemporal gait parameters and vertical ground reaction force were simultaneously recorded. Statistical comparisons were made using repeated-measures ANOVA models. Results: Increasing walking speed was associated with higher cadence, longer step length, shorter stance duration, greater ankle plantarflexion, higher vertical ground reaction force peaks, and a greater loading rate (P < 0.05). Maximum (F1,38 = 7.38, P < 0.05) and minimum (F1,46 = 8.95, P < 0.05) ultrasound transmission velocities in the Achilles tendon were significantly lower (16–23 m·s−1) during the stance but not swing phase of gait, with each increase in walking speed. Conclusions: Despite higher vertical ground reaction forces and greater ankle plantarflexion, increasing walking speed resulted in a reduction in the axial transmission velocity of ultrasound in the Achilles tendon; indicating a speed-dependent reduction in tensile load within the triceps surae muscle–tendon unit during walking. These findings question the rationale for current progressive loading protocols involving the Achilles tendon, in which reduced walking speeds are advocated early in the course of treatment to lower Achilles tendon loads.
You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.