Achilles tendon degeneration on ultrasound in type 2 diabetic patients

Babalola Ishamel Afolabi1, Bukunmi Michael Idowu2, Stephen Olaoluwa Onigbinde3

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2020; 20: e291–e299
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2020.0051
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Aim of study: The main goal of this study was to compare the various degenerative changes in the Achilles tendon of type 2 diabetic patients to that of controls. The influence of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, duration of diabetes mellitus, age, and body mass index on the occurrence of degenerative changes was also evaluated. Materials and methods: The Achilles tendons of both limbs were evaluated with high-resolution ultrasound in 80 type 2 diabetics and 80 age/sex-matched controls. A 10 g Semmes Weinstein monofilament was used to examine for peripheral neuropathy. Anthropometric measurements and biochemical assessment of glycemic control (fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin) were also done. Results: The mean age of type 2 diabetic subjects and healthy controls was 60.9 ± 10.3 years (range 41–79 years) and 61.0 ± 10.3 years (range 40–79 years), respectively (p = 0.963). The median duration of diabetes mellitus was 42.0 months (range = 1–456 months). The prevalence of degenerative changes (calcifications, disorganized fibers and/or hypoechoic foci) was significantly higher in type 2 diabetic subjects than controls in both the right (55.0% vs. 18.8%, p <0.001) and left (52.5% vs. 18.8%, p <0.001) feet. Conclusion: The Achilles tendons of type 2 diabetic subjects have significantly more degenerative changes than their age/ sex-matched controls in our locality. Disorganized Achilles tendon fibers occur significantly more often among male than female type 2 diabetic subjects. Disorganization of Achilles tendon fibers and hypoechoic foci are significantly more prevalent in type 2 diabetic subjects with peripheral neuropathy than those without peripheral neuropathy. Body mass index did not affect the occurrence of degenerative changes in the Achilles tendon of participants.

Achilles tendon, Achilles tendinopathy, tendon degeneration, tendinopathy, diabetes mellitus