Objective To determine the reproducibility of compression elastography (CE) when measuring strain data, a measure of stiffness of the human Achilles tendon in vivo, over consecutive measures, consecutive days and when using different foot positions. Materials and methods Eight participants (4 males, 4 females; mean age 25.5 ± 2.51 years, range 21-30 years; height 173.6 ± 11.7 cm, range 156-189 cm) had five consecutive CE measurements taken on one day and a further five CE measures taken, one per day, at the same time of day, every day for a consecutive 5-day period. These 80 measurements were used to assess both the repeatability and reproducibility of the technique. Means, standard deviations, coefficient of variation (CV), Pearson correlation analysis (R) and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated. Results For CE data, all CVs were above 53%, R values indicated no-to-weak correlations between measures at best (range 0.01-0.25), and ICC values were all classified in the poor category (range 0.00-0.11). CVs for length and diameter measures were acceptably low indicating a high level of reliability. Conclusions Given the wide variation obtained in the CE results, it was concluded that CE using this specific system has a low level of reproducibility for measuring the stiffness of the human Achilles tendon in vivo over consecutive days, consecutive measures and in different foot positions.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00256-017-2629-2
- Compression elastography
- Achilles tendon