Overweight and obesity alters the cumulative transverse strain in the Achilles tendon immediately following exercise
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This research evaluated the effect of obesity on the acute cumulative transverse strain of the Achilles tendon in response to exercise. Twenty healthy adult males were categorized into 'low normal-weight' (BMI <23kgm-2) and 'overweight' (BMI 27.5kgm-2) groups based on intermediate cut-off points recommended by the World Health Organization. Longitudinal sonograms of the right Achilles tendon were acquired immediately prior and following weight-bearing ankle exercises. Achilles tendon thickness was measured 20-mm proximal to the calcaneal insertion and transverse tendon strain was calculated as the natural log of the ratio of post- to pre-exercise tendon thickness. The Achilles tendon was thicker in the overweight group both prior to (t18=-2.91, P=0.009) and following (t18=-4.87, P<0.001) exercise. The acute transverse strain response of the Achilles tendon in the overweight group (-10.7±2.5%), however, was almost half that of the 'low normal-weight' (-19.5±7.4%) group (t18=-3.56, P=0.004). These findings suggest that obesity is associated with structural changes in tendon that impairs intra-tendinous fluid movement in response to load and provides new insights into the link between tendon pathology and overweight and obesity.
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