The objectives of this study was to investigate the acute effects of various magnitudes of tendon strain on the mechanical properties of the human medial gastrocnemius (MG) in vivo during controlled heel-drop exercises. Seven male and seven female volunteers performed two different exercises executed one month apart: one was a heel-drop exercise on a block (HDB), and the other was a heel-drop exercise on level floor (HDL). In each regimen, the subjects completed a session of 150 heel-drop exercises (15 repetitions. ×. 10 sets; with a 30 s rest following each set). Before and immediately after the heel-drop exercise, the ankle plantar flexor torque and elongation of the MG were measured using a combined measurement system of dynamometry and ultrasonography and then the MG tendon strain and stiffness were evaluated in each subject. The tendon stiffness measured prior to the exercises was not significantly different between the two groups 23.7. ±. 10.6. N/mm and 24.1. ±. 10.0. N/mm for the HDB and HDL, respectively (p>. .05). During the heel-drop exercise, it was found that the tendon strain during the heel-drop exercise on a block (8.4. ±. 3.7%) was significantly higher than the strain measured on the level floor (5.4. ±. 3.8%) (p<. .05). In addition, the tendon stiffness following the heel-drop exercise on a block (32.3. ±. 12.2. N/mm) was significantly greater than the tendon stiffness measured following the heel-drop exercise on the level floor (25.4. ±. 11.4. N/mm) (p<. .05). The results of this study suggest that tendon stiffness immediately following a heel-drop exercise depends on the magnitude of tendon strain.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) , and funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( NRF-2010-0024090 ).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology