Should We Care About Tendon Structure? The Disconnect Between Structure and Symptoms in Tendinopathy Academic Article uri icon


  • We can visualize tendons better than ever before. Medical imaging today provides increasingly higher-resolution images, enabling larger fields of view that allow clinicians and researchers to more precisely characterize tendon structure. Yet, does seeing a patient's tendon provide any meaningful benefit to our clinical reasoning, and will it make a difference to treatment outcomes? It is little surprise that concomitant with this imaging availability is a renewed debate over the relationship between the appearance of tendon structure and symptomology. Despite the advances in medical imaging, as well as the clinical and research interest in tendinopathy, there does not appear to be any greater clarity on reconciling a patient's clinical presentation with either baseline characterization of structural abnormalities or the time series of changes following selected interventions. It may be helpful, therefore, to take a step back and give renewed consideration to the anatomical and physiological role of tendon structure, and to consider this in the context of what we know about tendon pathology. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2015;45(11):823-825. doi:10.2519/jospt.2015.0112.

publication date

  • November 2015