Strain is an essential metric in tissue mechanics. Strains and strain distributions during functional loads can help identify damaged and pathologic regions as well as quantify functional compromise. Noninvasive strain measurement in vivo is difficult to perform. The goal of this in vitro study is to determine the efficacy of digital image correlation (DIC) methods to measure strain in B-mode ultrasound images. The Achilles tendons of eight male Wistar rats were removed and mechanically cycled between 0 and 1% strain. Three cine video images were captured for each specimen: (1) optical video for manual tracking of optical markers; (2) optical video for DIC tracking of optical surface markers; and (3) ultrasound video for DIC tracking of image texture within the tissue. All three imaging modalities were similarly able to measure tendon strain during cyclic testing. Manual/ImageJ-based strain values linearly correlated with DIC (optical marker)-based strain values for all eight tendons with a slope of 0.970. DIC (optical marker)-based strain values linearly correlated with DIC (ultrasound texture)-based strain values for all eight tendons with a slope of 1.003. Strain measurement using DIC was as accurate as manual image tracking methods, and DIC tracking was equally accurate when tracking ultrasound texture as when tracking optical markers. This study supports the use of DIC to calculate strains directly from the texture present in standard B-mode ultrasound images and supports the use of DIC for in vivo strain measurement using ultrasound images without additional markers, either artificially placed (for optical tracking) or anatomically in view (i.e., bony landmarks and/or muscle-tendon junctions).

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