Structural disorganization in the tendon is associated with tendinopathy, with little research investigating whether disorganization overwhelms the overall structural integrity of the tendon. This study investigated the mean cross-sectional area (CSA) of aligned fibrillar structure as detected by ultrasound tissue characterization (UTC) in the pathological and normal Achilles and patellar tendons. Ninety-one participants had their Achilles and/or patellar tendons scanned using UTC to capture a three-dimensional image of the tendon and allow a semi-quantification of the echopattern. The mean CSA of aligned fibrillar structure (echo type I + II) and disorganized structure (echo type III + IV) was calculated based on UTC algorithms. Each tendon was classified as either pathological or normal based solely on gray-scale ultrasound. The mean CSA of aligned fibrillar structure was significantly greater (P ≤ 0.001) in the pathological tendon compared with the normal tendon, despite the pathological tendon containing greater amounts of disorganized structure (P ≤ 0.001). A significant relationship was observed between the mean CSA of disorganized structure and anteroposterior diameter of the Achilles (R(2) = 0.587) and patellar (R(2) = 0.559) tendons. This study is the first to show that pathological tendons have sufficient levels of aligned fibrillar structure. Pathological tendons may compensate for areas of disorganization by increasing in tendon thickness.