Objective: To measure the Achilles tendon length, thickness and cross-sectional area in asymptomatic adult Saudi participants and to investigate the possible changes in these measurements based on their different ages and body height.
Methods: The prospective cohort study was done between January 2014 and March 2015. A total of 200 asymptomatic participants with 175 males (87.5%) and 25 females (12.5%) between the ages of 14 and 65 years, with the mean age of 25 ± 1.5 years, were scanned at two radiology departments. Ultrasound (US) scans for the Achilles tendons were performed using a Hitachi (EZU-MT30-S1 HI Vision Avius, Hitachi, Japan) US machine. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) was used to analyse the results.
Results: There was no significant difference in the length, cross-sectional area and thickness of the Achilles tendons among the participants of different ages; however, the cross-sectional area of Achilles tendons of the older participants (≥ 47 years) was higher than that of the participants of the younger age groups. Moreover, there was no correlation between the length, cross-sectional area, and thickness of the Achilles tendons and their body heights; however, the participants of ≥ 153 cm in height showed an increase in their Achilles tendon cross-sectional areas.
Conclusion: Ultrasound is a useful imaging tool in the assessment of the Achilles tendons. The normal variations of the tendon morphological characteristics should be considered in the clinical diagnosis. Additional studies on the correlations among the Achilles tendon length, thickness and cross-sectional areas of ethnicity of the participants in Saudi Arabia are suggested.