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J Biomech. 2013 Aug 9;46(12):2053-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.05.016. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Relationship between shear elastic modulus and passive muscle force: an ex-vivo study.

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Department of Research, New York Chiropractic College, Seneca Falls, NY 13148, United States.


As muscle is stretched, it reacts with increasing passive resistance. This passive force component is important for normal muscle function. Unfortunately, direct measurement of passive muscle force is still beyond the current state-of-the-art. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of using Supersonic shear wave elastography (SSWE) to indirectly measure passive muscle force. Sixteen gastronomies pars externus and 16 tibialis anterior muscles were dissected from 10 fresh roaster chickens. For each muscle specimen, the proximal bone-tendon junction was kept intact with its tibia or femur clamped in a fixture. Calibration weights (0-400 g in 25 g per increment) were applied to the distal tendon via a pulley system and muscle elasticity was measured simultaneously using SSWE. The measurements were repeated for 3 cycles. The elasticity-load relationship of each tested muscle for each loading cycle was analyzed by fitting a least-squares regression line to the data. Test-retest reliability was evaluated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Results demonstrated that the relationships between SSWE elasticity and passive muscle force were highly linear for all the tested muscles with coefficients of determination ranging between 0.971 and 0.999. ICCs were 0.996 and 0.985, respectively, for the slope and y-intercept parameters of the regression lines, indicating excellent reliability. These findings indicate that SSWE, when carefully applied, can be a highly reliable technique for muscle elasticity measurements. The linear relationship between SSWE elasticity and passive muscle force identified in the present study demonstrated that SSWE may be used as an indirect measure of passive muscle force.


Passive muscle force; Reliability; Shear wave elastography

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