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Muscle fibre length-to-moment arm ratios in the human lower limb determined in vivo

Maganaris, Constantinos N. and Baltzopoulos, Vasilios and Tsaopoulos, Dimitrios E. (2005) Muscle fibre length-to-moment arm ratios in the human lower limb determined in vivo. Journal of biomechanics, 39 (9). pp. 1663-1668. ISSN 0021-9290

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to quantify in vivo the fibre length (L)-to-moment arm (d) ratio (L/d) in the major ankle plantarflexors and knee extensors of 21 healthy men. Measurements of L were taken in the gastrocnemius medialis, gastrocnemius lateralis, soleus, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius muscles using ultrasound scanning. Measurements of d were taken in the Achilles tendon (d(AT)) and patellar tendon (d(PT)) using magnetic resonance imaging. The relations between (a) L in each ankle plantarflexor muscle and d(AT), (b) L in each knee extensor muscle and d(PT), and (c) d(AT) and d(PT,) were analyzed with Pearson correlation coefficients. There was no significant relation (P>0.05) between any of the above parameters, with the correlation coefficient values ranging from -0.2 to 0.29. These results contradict previous findings that L scales with d, indicating that skeletal size differences between individuals may not always be associated with predictable differences in muscle architecture. This needs to be accounted for when information about the L/d ratio of a given muscle-joint in a given individual is required, as for example is the case when assessing the suitability of a potential donor muscle in surgical tendon transfer.

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