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Nat Commun. 2018 Apr 23;9(1):1592. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03797-6.

Gauging force by tapping tendons.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
3
School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada.
4
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
5
Engineering Physics Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
6
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA.
7
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. dgthelen@wisc.edu.
8
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. dgthelen@wisc.edu.
9
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. dgthelen@wisc.edu.
10
Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. dgthelen@wisc.edu.

Abstract

Muscles are the actuators that drive human movement. However, despite many decades of work, we still cannot readily assess the forces that muscles transmit during human movement. Direct measurements of muscle-tendon loads are invasive and modeling approaches require many assumptions. Here, we introduce a non-invasive approach to assess tendon loads by tracking vibrational behavior. We first show that the speed of shear wave propagation in tendon increases with the square root of axial stress. We then introduce a remarkably simple shear wave tensiometer that uses micron-scale taps and skin-mounted accelerometers to track tendon wave speeds in vivo. Tendon wave speeds are shown to modulate in phase with active joint torques during isometric exertions, walking, and running. The capacity to non-invasively assess muscle-tendon loading can provide new insights into the motor control and biomechanics underlying movement, and could lead to enhanced clinical treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and diseases.

PMID:
29686281
PMCID:
PMC5913259
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-03797-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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