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Hysteresis measurements in intact human tendon

Maganaris, Constantinos N. and Paul, John P. (2000) Hysteresis measurements in intact human tendon. Journal of biomechanics, 33 (12). pp. 1723-7. ISSN 0021-9290

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Mechanical hysteresis in tendons has traditionally been quantified from tensile testing of isolated specimens. Limitations associated with tendon displacement measurement and clamping, and uncertainties as to whether in vitro material represents intact tendon function necessitate measuring hysteresis under in vivo conditions. In the present study such measurements were taken in the human tibialis anterior (TA) tendon. Having the foot fixed on a dynamometer footplate, the displacement of the TA tendon during stimulation and relaxation of the TA muscle was recorded by means of ultrasonography in six men. Combining moment data corresponding to 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% of maximum voltage moment and the respective tendon-displacement data, a hysteresis loop was obtained between the load-displacement curves during contraction and relaxation. Measurement of the hysteresis loop area yielded a value of 19%. This value agrees with results from in vitro tensile tests of low-stress tendons, suitable for tensile force transmission and joint displacement control. In fact, the human TA tendon has such functional characteristics. The methodology presented allows design of longitudinal and cross-sectional experimental protocols, and in vivo assessment of tendon function and propensity to overheat.

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