School of Medical and Health Sciences
Co-existence of Plantaris tendinopathy (PT) in patients with mid-Achilles tendinopathy (Mid-AT) is of clinical significance. This study aims to describe the MRI-based pathological characteristics of co-existing PT and Mid-AT. One-hundred MRI studies of patients diagnosed with Mid-AT were retrospectively analysed by an experienced musculoskeletal radiologist. Presence or absence of a Plantaris tendon, co-existing PT with Mid-AT, insertional characteristics of Plantaris tendon, and maximum anteroposterior thickness of the tendon in Mid-AT (axial images) were evaluated. When PT co-existed with Mid-AT, the location of the tendon pathologies in relation to calcaneal insertion was assessed (sagittal images) and their association was analysed using the coefficient of variation (CV) and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Plantaris was present in 84 cases (84%), and Mid-AT and PT co-existed in 10 cases (10%). A greater variability in the location of Plantaris pathology (CV = 42%) than Achilles tendinopathy (CV = 42%) was observed. The correlation coefficient also revealed a low and non-significant association between the location of two pathologies when they exist together (r = + 0.06, p = 0.88). Clinical evaluation of Achilles tendon pain needs careful consideration into the possible co-existence of Plantaris pathology. The considerable difference observed in the location of PT and Mid-AT suggest possible isolated pathologies and differentials for Achilles tendon pain.
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