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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2012 Dec;22(6):930-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

The architecture and contraction time of intrinsic foot muscles.

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The University of Queensland, School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, St. Lucia 4072, Australia.


Although critical for effective human locomotion and posture, little data exists regarding the segmentation, architecture and contraction time of the human intrinsic foot muscles. To address this issue, the Abductor Hallucis (AH), Abductor Digiti Minimi (ADM), Flexor Digitorum Brevis (FDB) and Extensor Digitorum Brevis (EDB) were investigated utilizing a cadaveric dissection and a non-invasive whole muscle mechanomyographic (wMMG) technique. The segmental structure and architecture of formaldehyde-fixed foot specimens were determined in nine cadavers aged 60-80 years. The wMMG technique was used to determine the contraction time (Tc) of individual muscle segments, within each intrinsic foot muscle, in 12 volunteers of both genders aged between 19 and 24 years. While the pattern of segmentation and segmental -architecture (e.g. fibre length) and -Tc of individual muscle segments within the same muscle were similar, they varied between muscles. Also, the average whole muscle Tc of FDB was significantly (p < 0.05) shorter (faster) (Tc = 58 ms) than in all other foot muscles investigated (ADM Tc = 72 ms, EDB Tc = 72 ms and ABH Tc = 69 ms). The results suggest that the architecture and contraction time of the FDB reflect its unique direct contribution, through toe flexion, to postural stability and the rapid development of ground reaction forces during forceful activities such as running and jumping.

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