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mesheuropmc: musculoskeletal system, musculoskeletal diseases
Tendon injuries have, for many years, frustrated clinicians and patients alike due to their longevity and resistance to therapy. In recent years there has been good response in the extensor tendons of the lower limb to an intense painful eccentric exercise protocol. As yet there is no established reason known why a tendon should develop degeneration within its structure or why it should respond to the eccentric exercises. We do however know that, like bone, tendons are biologically active and rapidly adapt to the mechanical environment to which they are exposed. Recent investigations have revealed that within a tendon such as the Achilles or the patellar tendon there may be regions that experience different strains to the rest of the tendon. Much of this work has been in vitro and an ultimate goal would be the development of a non-invasive method by which intra-tendinous strain might be measured. The basis of this thesis is the validation of an existing grey-scale speckle pattern matching software programme developed for tracking motion through serial ultrasound images. Through in vitro and in vivo work we have developed its use for tracking the unique type of speckle found in tendons. By verifying, in vitro, that the displacements tracked in phantoms and tendons alike are representative of reality we provide confidence in the use of an exciting tool for measuring tendon motion in vivo. Furthermore, we have established the method by which the tracking can be adapted to accurately represent tendon strain in vitro which again provides assurance for its reliability when applied to examine tendon strain in vivo. The methods of data collection and analysis developed in this study provide the foundations for an exciting avenue of research into tendon biomechanics.
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