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J Biomech. 2006;39(3):426-34.

Effect of muscle fatigue on the compliance of the gastrocnemius medialis tendon and aponeurosis.

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Institute for Biomechanics and Orthopaedics, German Sport University Cologne, Carl-Diem- Weg 6, D-50933 Cologne, Germany.


The aim of the present study was to examine whether or not the compliance of the gastrocnemius medialis (GM) tendon and aponeurosis is influenced by submaximal fatiguing efforts. Fourteen elderly male subjects performed isometric maximal voluntary plantarflexion contractions (MVC) on a dynamometer before and after two fatiguing protocols. The protocols consisted of: (1) submaximal concentric isokinetic contractions (70% isokinetic MVC) at 60 degrees /s and (2) a sustained isometric contraction (40% isometric MVC) until failure to hold the defined moment. Ultrasonography was used to determine the elongation and strain of the GM tendon and aponeurosis. To account for the axis misalignment between ankle and dynamometer, the kinematics of the leg were captured at 120 Hz. The maximum moment decreased from 85.9+/-17.9 Nm prior fatigue to 79.2+/-19 Nm after isokinetic fatigue and to 69.9+/-16.4 Nm after isometric fatigue. The maximal strain of the GM tendon and aponeurosis before fatigue, after isokinetic and after isometric fatigue were 4.9+/-1.1%, 4.4+/-1.1% and 4.3+/-1.1% respectively. Neither the strain nor the elongation showed significant differences before and after each fatiguing task at any 100 N step of the calculated tendon force. This implies that the compliance was not altered after either the isokinetic or the isometric fatiguing task. Therefore it was concluded that the strains during the performed submaximal fatiguing tasks, were too small to provoke any structural changes in tendon and aponeurosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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