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Passive Mechanical Properties of Human Medial Gastrocnemius and Soleus Musculotendinous Unit.


ABSTRACT: The in vivo characterization of the passive mechanical properties of the human triceps surae musculotendinous unit is important for gaining a deeper understanding of the interactive responses of the tendon and muscle tissues to loading during passive stretching. This study sought to quantify a comprehensive set of passive muscle-tendon properties such as slack length, stiffness, and the stress-strain relationship using a combination of ultrasound imaging and a three-dimensional motion capture system in healthy adults. By measuring tendon length, the cross-section areas of the Achilles tendon subcompartments (i.e., medial gastrocnemius and soleus aspects), and the ankle torque simultaneously, the mechanical properties of each individual compartment can be specifically identified. We found that the medial gastrocnemius (GM) and soleus (SOL) aspects of the Achilles tendon have similar mechanical properties in terms of slack angle (GM: -10.96° ± 3.48°; SOL: -8.50° ± 4.03°), moment arm at 0° of ankle angle (GM: 30.35 ± 6.42?mm; SOL: 31.39 ± 6.42?mm), and stiffness (GM: 23.18 ± 13.46?Nmm-1; SOL: 31.57 ± 13.26?Nmm-1). However, maximal tendon stress in the GM was significantly less than that in SOL (GM: 2.96 ± 1.50?MPa; SOL: 4.90 ± 1.88?MPa, p = 0.024), largely due to the higher passive force observed in the soleus compartment (GM: 99.89 ± 39.50?N; SOL: 174.59 ± 79.54?N, p = 0.020). Moreover, the tendon contributed to more than half of the total muscle-tendon unit lengthening during the passive stretch. This unequal passive stress between the medial gastrocnemius and the soleus tendon might contribute to the asymmetrical loading and deformation of the Achilles tendon during motion reported in the literature. Such information is relevant to understanding the Achilles tendon function and loading profile in pathological populations in the future.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7889354 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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