Background: Patients with Achilles tendon (AT) injuries are often engaged in sedentary work because of decreasing tendon vascularisation. Furthermore, men are more likely to be exposed to AT tendinosis or ruptures. These conditions are related to the morphological and mechanical properties of AT, but the mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of sex on the morphological and mechanical properties of the AT in inactive individuals. Methods: In total, 30 inactive healthy participants (15 male participants and 15 female participants) were recruited. The AT morphological properties (cross-sectional area, thickness, and length) were captured by using an ultrasound device. The AT force–elongation characteristics were determined during isometric plantarflexion with the ultrasonic videos. The AT stiffness was determined at 50%–100% maximum voluntary contraction force. The AT strain, stress, and hysteresis were calculated. Results: Male participants had 15% longer AT length, 31% larger AT cross-sectional area and 21% thicker AT than female participants (p
< 0.05). The plantarflexion torque, peak AT force, peak AT stress, and AT stiffness were significantly greater in male participants than in female participants (p
< 0.05). However, no significant sex-specific differences were observed in peak AT strain and hysteresis (p
> 0.05). Conclusions: In physically inactive adults, the morphological properties of AT were superior in men but were exposed to higher stress conditions. Moreover, no significant sex-specific differences were observed in peak AT strain and hysteresis, indicating that the AT of males did not store and return elastic energy more efficiently than that of females. Thus, the mechanical properties of the AT should be maintained and/or improved through physical exercise.
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