This cross-sectional study assessed the prevalence of Achilles tendinopathy symptoms and ultrasound (US) abnormalities in male and female ice skaters, and compared this to age-matched controls. The 20 skaters of mean (sd) age 17.3 (7.9) were recruited from British figure skating clubs. The 17 non-skaters of mean age 18.0 (3.7) were recruited from a secondary school and university. Each group had 12 females. All participants completed a questionnaire, and Achilles tendons were ultrasound-scanned for thickening, hypoechoic areas, paratenon blurring and neovascularization. Skaters experienced significantly more lifetime symptoms (p=0.012) than the control group but there were no differences in present symptoms. Mid-tendon longitudinal thickness and the coefficient of variation (CoV) for longitudinal tendon thickness were significantly greater in the skaters (p=0.001 and p=0.017 respectively). No other ultrasound abnormalities were detected in either group. Figure skaters may be at a greater risk of Achilles tendon problems than the general population and have adaptive changes in their tendons.
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