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Kentaro Chino, Naotoshi Mitsukawa, Kai Kobayashi, Yusuke Miyoshi, Toshiaki Oda, Hiroaki Kanehisa, Tetsuo Fukunaga, Senshi Fukashiro and Yasuo Kawakami

To investigate the relationship between fascicle behavior and joint torque, the fascicle behavior of the triceps surae during isometric and eccentric (30 and 60 deg/s) plantar flexion by maximal voluntary and submaximal electrical activation (MVA and SEA) was measured by real-time ultrasonography. Eccentric torque at 30 and 60 deg/s was significantly higher than isometric torque under SEA, but not under MVA. However, fascicle length did not significantly differ between isometric and eccentric trials under either condition. Therefore, the difference in developed torque by MVA and SEA cannot be explained by fascicle behavior. Under both MVA and SEA conditions, eccentric torque at 30 and 60 deg/s was equivalent. Similarly, fascicle lengthening velocities at 30 and 60deg/s did not show any significant difference. Such fascicle behavior can be attributed to the influence of tendinous tissue and pennation angle, and lead to a lack of increase in eccentric torque with increasing angular velocity.

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Markus Tilp, Simon Steib, Gudrun Schappacher-Tilp and Walter Herzog

Force enhancement following muscle stretching and force depression following muscle shortening are well-accepted properties of skeletal muscle contraction. However, the factors contributing to force enhancement/depression remain a matter of debate. In addition to factors on the fiber or sarcomere level, fiber length and angle of pennation affect the force during voluntary isometric contractions in whole muscles. Therefore, we hypothesized that differences in fiber lengths and angles of pennation between force-enhanced/depressed and reference states may contribute to force enhancement/depression during voluntary contractions. The purpose of this study was to test this hypothesis. Twelve subjects participated in this study, and force enhancement/depression was measured in human tibialis anterior. Fiber lengths and angles of pennation were quantified using ultrasound imaging. Neither fiber lengths nor angles of pennation were found to differ between the isometric reference contractions and any of the force-enhanced or force-depressed conditions. Therefore, we rejected our hypothesis and concluded that differences in fiber lengths or angles of pennation do not contribute to the observed force enhancement/depression in human tibialis anterior, and speculate that this result is likely true for other muscles too.

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Samantha L. Winter and John H. Challis

The muscle fiber force–length relationship has been explained in terms of the cross-bridge theory at the sarcomere level. In vivo, for a physiologically realistic range of joint motion, and therefore range of muscle fiber lengths, only part of the force–length curve may be used; that is, the section of the force– length curve expressed can vary. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of a method for determining the expressed section of the force– length curve for biarticular muscles. A muscle model was used to simulate the triceps surae muscle group. Three model formulations were used so that the gastrocnemius operated over different portions of the force–length curve: the ascending limb, the plateau region, and the descending limb. Joint moment data were generated for a range of joint configurations and from this simulated data the region of the force– length relationship that the gastrocnemius muscle operated over was successfully reconstructed using the algorithm of Herzog and ter Keurs (1988a). Further simulations showed that the correct region of the force–length curve was accurately reconstructed even in the presence of random and systematic noise generated to reflect the effects of sampling errors, and incomplete muscle activation.

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Samantha L. Winter and John H. Challis

For a physiologically realistic range of joint motion and therefore range of muscle fiber lengths, only part of the force-length curve can be used in vivo; i.e., the section of the force–length curve that is expressed can vary. The purpose of this study was to determine the expressed section of the force–length relationship of the gastrocnemius for humans. Fourteen male and fourteen female subjects aged 18–27 performed maximal isometric plantar flexions in a Biodex dynamometer. Plantar flexion moments were recorded at five ankle angles: −15°, 0°, 15°, 30°, and 40°, with negative angles defined as dorsiflexion. These measurements were repeated for four randomly ordered knee angles over two testing sessions 4 to 10 days apart. The algorithm of Herzog and ter Keurs (1988a) was used to reconstruct the force–length curves of the biarticular gastrocnemius. Twenty-four subjects operated over the ascending limb, three operated over the descending limb, and one operated over the plateau region. The variation found suggests that large subject groups should be used to determine the extent of normal in vivo variability in this muscle property. The possible source of the variability is discussed in terms of parameters typically used in muscle models.

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Taija Finni and Paavo V. Komi

During dynamic activities it is difficult to assess in vivo length changes in human tendon and aponeurosis. The present study compared the outcome of two methods during unilateral squat jump and drop jump performances of four volunteers. Tendinous tissue elongation of vastus lateralis muscle was estimated using either (a) direct measurement of in vivo fascicle length change and muscletendon length estimation (kinematic method), or (b) prediction using a quadratic force function in combination with direct tendon force measurement (force method). In the kinematic method the most critical measures contributing to the 10% uncertainty were the fascicle angle and fraction of the estimated fascicle length. The force method was most sensitive to resting length, with 1% error margin. Both methods predicted the same pattern of tendinous elongation because of the monotonic force/length relationship. The magnitude of length change, however, differed considerably between both methods. Based on the force method, the changes were only 20% (absolute values) or 30% (strain values) of those obtained with the kinematic method. On average, the maximum strains were 5% with the force method and 15% with the kinematic method. This difference can be explained by the fact that the kinematic method characterizes not only the changes in tendon length but also includes aponeurosis strain along the muscle belly. In addition, the kinematic method may be affected by non-uniform distribution of fascicle length change along the length of the muscle. When applying either method for estimating the patterns of tendon and tendinous tissue length changes during human locomotion, the given methodological considerations should be acknowledged.

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Neil Chapman, John Whitting, Suzanne Broadbent, Zachary Crowley-McHattan and Rudi Meir

, plateau, and descending limb portions of the curve representing the isometric force–length relationship. Since these early observations, RFE has been demonstrated in numerous experiments involving a range of muscle models from in vitro preparations of half sarcomeres 9 to voluntarily contracted

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Genki Hatano, Shigeyuki Suzuki, Shingo Matsuo, Satoshi Kataura, Kazuaki Yokoi, Taizan Fukaya, Mitsuhiro Fujiwara, Yuji Asai and Masahiro Iwata

in dynamic characteristics (ie, changes in the optimal muscle length during application of muscle force due to changes in the force–length relationship of the muscle–tendon unit, 31 which could also potentially affect muscle stiffness), declines in the transmission efficiency of force due to changes

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Alif Laila Tisha, Ashley Allison Armstrong, Amy Wagoner Johnson and Citlali López-Ortiz

reduced force production in muscle affected by spastic CP is consistent with the earlier discussion regarding the rightward shift on the classic force–length relationship curve. However, the extent to which the smaller cross-sectional area and passive mechanical properties of the muscles in spastic CP

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Jared R. Fletcher and Brian R. MacIntosh

force. In fitting our tendon versus angle excursion data to a third-order polynomial equation, we are able to reliably assess the moment arm at a specific joint angle. This would be particularly important when estimating the in vivo force–length relationship from moment data, where knowing the moment

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Feng-Hua Tsai, I-Hua Chu, Chun-Hao Huang, Jing-Min Liang, Jia-Hroung Wu and Wen-Lan Wu

. Variations were found at different knee angles and contraction intensities with a varying force–length relationship of the triceps surae. 25 , 32 In this study, we found that the EMG peak for the soleus muscle in AT-Achilles was significantly lower than in No-taping applied in the heel down phase and lower