Inhomogeneous and Anisotropic Mechanical Properties of the Triceps Surae Aponeuroses in Older Adults: Relationships With Muscle Strength and Walking Performance

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study investigated (a) site- and direction-dependent variations of passive triceps surae aponeurosis stiffness and (b) the relationships between aponeurosis stiffness and muscle strength and walking performance in older individuals. Seventy-nine healthy older adults participated in this study. Shear wave velocities of the triceps surae aponeuroses at different sites and in two orthogonal directions were obtained in a prone position at rest using supersonic shear imaging. The maximal voluntary isometric contraction torque of the plantar flexors and normal (preferred) and fast (fastest possible) walking speeds (5-m distance) were also measured. The shear wave velocities of the adjoining aponeuroses were weakly associated with plantar flexion torque (r = .23–.34), normal (r = .26), and fast walking speed (r = .25). The results show clear spatial variations and anisotropy of the triceps surae aponeuroses stiffness in vivo, and the aponeurosis stiffness was associated with physical ability in older adults.

Shan is with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. Shan, Evangelidis, Yamagishi, Otsuka, Tanaka, and Kawakami are with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan. Evangelidis is with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences, Tokyo, Japan. Shibata is with the Faculty of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. Kawakami is with the Organization for University Research Initiatives, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.

Kawakami (ykawa@waseda.jp) is corresponding author.
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