Muscle fascicle strains in human gastrocnemius during backward downhill walking

Article


Hoffman, B. W., Cresswell, A. G., Carroll, T. J. and Lichtwark, G. A.. 2014. "Muscle fascicle strains in human gastrocnemius during backward downhill walking." Journal of Applied Physiology. 116 (11), pp. 1455-1462. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01431.2012
Article Title

Muscle fascicle strains in human gastrocnemius during backward downhill walking

ERA Journal ID3161
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsHoffman, B. W. (Author), Cresswell, A. G. (Author), Carroll, T. J. (Author) and Lichtwark, G. A. (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Applied Physiology
Journal Citation116 (11), pp. 1455-1462
Number of Pages8
Year2014
PublisherAmerican Physiological Society
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1522-1601
8750-7587
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01431.2012
Web Address (URL)http://www.physiology.org/doi/10.1152/japplphysiol.01431.2012
Abstract

Extensive muscle damage can be induced in isolated muscle preparations by performing a small number of stretches during muscle activation. While typically these fiber strains are large and occur over long lengths, the extent of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) observed in humans is normally less even when multiple high-force lengthening actions are performed. This apparent discrepancy may be due to differences in muscle fiber and tendon dynamics in vivo; however, muscle and tendon strains have not been quantified during muscle-damaging exercise in humans. Ultrasound and an infrared motion analysis system were used to measure medial gastrocnemius fascicle length and lower limb kinematics while humans walked backward, downhill for 1 h (inducing muscle damage), and while they walked briefly forward on the flat (inducing no damage). Supramaximal tibial nerve stimulation, ultrasound, and an isokinetic dynamometer were used to quantify the fascicle length-torque relationship pre- and 2 h postexercise. Torque decreased ~23%, and optimal fascicle length shifted rightward ~10%, indicating that EIMD occurred during the damage protocol even though medial gastrocnemius fascicle stretch amplitude was relatively small (~18% of optimal fascicle length) and occurred predominantly within the ascending limb and plateau region of the length-torque curve. Furthermore, tendon contribution to overall muscle-tendon unit stretch was ~91%. The data suggest the compliant tendon plays a role in attenuating muscle fascicle strain during backward walking in humans, thus minimizing the extent of EIMD. As such, in situ or in vitro mechanisms of muscle damage may not be applicable to EIMD of the human gastrocnemius muscle.

KeywordsLength-tension relationship; lengthening exercise; muscle fiber dynamics; strain-induced muscle damage; ultrasonography
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420702. Exercise physiology
420701. Biomechanics
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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