The purposes of our study were to correlate ultrasonographically measured and joint angle estimated excursions of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendons of the hand and to estimate the relative motion of FDS and FDP while gripping cylinders of standard diameter in normal human subjects. Thirty wrists from 15 human subjects were imaged with an ultrasound scanner. Speckle tracking was used to measure the excursion of the FDS and FDP tendons. The tendon excursions necessary to grip three differently sized acrylic tubes were measured and correlated with the corresponding finger joint angles. The FDP/FDS excursion ratio was calculated. The Pearson's correlation coefficient between the FDS excursion and MP + PIP joint angle was 0.61. The Pearson's correlation coefficient between the FDP + FDS excursion and the DIP + PIP + MP joint angle was 0.67. The FDP/FDS excursion ratio was smaller for larger excursions (gripping a smaller diameter tube) and larger for small excursions (gripping a larger diameter tube, P < 0.01). These data suggest that speckle tracking may be a useful method to discriminate the relative motion of flexor tendons, which in turn may be relevant in evaluating tendon function, for example after tendon injury.
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