The purposes of this study were to compare the elasticity of tendon and aponeurosis in human knee extensors and ankle plantar flexors in vivo and to examine whether the maximal strain of tendon was correlated to that of aponeurosis. The elongation of tendon and aponeurosis during isometric knee extension (n = 23) and ankle plantar flexion (n = 22), respectively, were determined using a real-time ultrasonic apparatus, while the participants performed ramp isometric contractions up to voluntary maximum. To calculate the strain values from the measured elongation, we measured the respective length of tendon and aponeurosis. For the knee extensors, the maximal strain of aponeurosis (12.1 ± 2.8%) was significantly greater than that of the patella tendon (8.3 ± 2.4%), p < 0.001. On the contrary, the maximal strain of Achilles tendon (5.9 ± 1.4%) was significantly greater than that of aponeurosis in ankle plantar flexors (2.7 ± 1.4%), p < 0.001. Furthermore, for both knee extensors and ankle plantar flexors there was no significant correlation between maximal strain of tendon and aponeurosis. These results would be important for understanding the different roles of tendon and aponeurosis during human movements and for more accurate muscle modeling.
Dept. of Life Science, University of Tokyo, Komaba 3-8-1, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan
Dept. of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitama, 359-1192 Japan.