Achilles tendons in people with type 2 diabetes show mildly compromised structure: an ultrasound tissue characterisation study

Suzan Jonge*, Robert Rozenberg, Bruno Vieyra, Henk Stam, HJ Aanstoot, HH Weinans, Hans Schie, SFE Praet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Background Musculotendinous overuse injuries are prevalent in people with type 2 diabetes. Non-enzymatic glycosylation of collagen resulting in tendon stiffening may play a role. In this case-control study we determined whether patients with diabetes had poorer ultrasonographic structure in their Achilles tendons compared to age-matched controls. Methods People with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and age-matched controls, had computerised ultrasound tissue characterisation of both Achilles tendons. In contiguous ultrasonographic images of the tendon, echopatterns were quantified and categorised into four echo-types. Tendon abnormality was quantified as sum of echo-types III+IV. Furthermore, skin autofluorescence (AF) of the forearm (AF-value) was gathered. Results Twenty four type 2 diabetes patients, 24 controls, 24 type 1 diabetes patients and 20 controls were included. AF-value was higher in type 1 diabetes (1.55 +/- 0.17) than in their controls (1.39 +/- 0.18, p<0.001) and in type 2 diabetes (2.28 +/- 0.38) compared to their controls (1.84 +/- 0.32, p<0.001) Achilles tendons of type 2 diabetes patients contained more echo-types III+IV (14.1 +/- 7.9%) than matched controls (8.0 +/- 5.4%, p<0.001). There was a trend towards a difference in echo-types III+IV between type 1 diabetes patients (9.5 +/- 5.3%) and their controls (6.5 +/- 3.7%, p=0.055). In a stepwise linear regression analysis, body mass index (BMI) was moderately associated with tendon abnormality in patients with diabetes and controls (beta=0.393, p<0.001). Conclusions Type 2, and possibly type 1, diabetes patients showed poorer ultrasonographic Achilles tendon structure that may be a risk factor for tendinopathy. Although markers for accumulation of advanced glycation end products were elevated in both diabetes populations, only BMI was associated with these abnormalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-999
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by Dutch Diabetes Research Foundation
(research grant no #2010.11.1387.

Research programs

  • EMC MM-01-51-01
  • EMC MUSC-01-46-01


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