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J Biomech. 2001 Mar;34(3):399-403.

Pennation angles of the intrinsic muscles of the foot.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, V A Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA.


As mathematical models of the musculoskeletal system become increasingly detailed and precise, they require more accurate information about the architectural parameters of the individual muscles. These muscles are typically represented as Hill-type models, which require data on fiber length, physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) and pennation angle. Most of this information for lower limb muscles has been published, except for data on the pennation angle of the intrinsic muscles of the foot. Each (n=20) intrinsic muscle of three human feet was dissected free. The dorsal and plantar surfaces were photographed and a digitized color image was imported into Abobe Photoshop. The muscles were divided into "anatomical units". For each anatomical unit (n=26), a line was drawn along the tendon axis and a number of other lines were drawn along individual muscle fibers. The angle between the tendon line and each fiber line was defined as the pennation angle of that fiber. By visual inspection, an effort was made to take measurements such that they represented the distribution of fibers in various parts of the muscle. Although some individual muscles had higher or lower pennation angles, when averaged for all specimens, the second dorsal interosseous had the smallest pennation angle (6.7+/-6.81 degrees) while the abductor digiti minimi had the largest (19.1+/-11.19 degrees). Since the cosines of the angles range from 0.9932 to 0.9449, the effect of the pennation angle on the force generated by the muscle was not great.

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