Interaction between gastrocnemius medialis fascicle and Achilles tendon compliance: a new insight on the quick-release method

Abstract : The insufficient temporal resolution of imaging devices has made the analysis of very fast movements, such as those required to measure active muscle-tendon unit stiffness, difficult. Thus the relative contributions of tendon, aponeurosis, and fascicle to muscle-tendon unit compliance remain to be determined. The present study analyzed the dynamic interactions of fascicle, tendon, and aponeurosis in human gastrocnemius medialis during the first milliseconds of an ankle quick-release movement, using high-frame-rate ultrasonography (2,000 frames/s). Nine subjects performed the tests in random order at six levels of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) (30% to 80% of MVC). These tests were carried out with the ultrasound probe placed on the muscle belly and on the myotendinous junction. Tendon, muscle fascicle, and aponeurosis length changes were quantified in relation to shortening of the muscle-tendon unit during the first few milliseconds following the release. The tendon was the main contributor (around 72%) to the shortening of the muscle-tendon unit, whereas the muscle fascicle and aponeu-rosis contributions were 18% and 10%, respectively. Because these structures can be considered in series, the quantified contributions can be regarded as relative contributions to muscle-tendon compliance. These contributions were not modified with the level of MVC or the time range used for the analysis between 10 and 25 ms. The constant contribution of tendon, muscle fascicle, and aponeurosis to muscle-tendon unit compliance may help to simplify the mechanism of compliance regulation and to maintain the important role of tendons in enhancing work output and movement efficiency.
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Journal of Applied Physiology, American Physiological Society, 2014, 116, pp.259 - 266
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Stevy Farcy, Antoine Nordez, Sylvain Dorel, Hugo Hauraix, Pierre Portero, et al.. Interaction between gastrocnemius medialis fascicle and Achilles tendon compliance: a new insight on the quick-release method. Journal of Applied Physiology, American Physiological Society, 2014, 116, pp.259 - 266. 〈hal-01661862〉

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