Muscle‐tendon morphology and function following long‐term exposure to repeated and strenuous mechanical loading

Bissas, Athanassios ORCID: 0000-0002-7858-9623, Havenetidis, Konstantinos, Walker, Josh, Hanley, Brian, Nicholson, Gareth, Metaxas, Thomas and Cronin, Neil ORCID: 0000-0002-5332-1188 (2020) Muscle‐tendon morphology and function following long‐term exposure to repeated and strenuous mechanical loading. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 30 (7). pp. 1151-1162. doi:10.1111/sms.13669

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We mapped structural and functional characteristics of muscle‐tendon units in a population exposed to very long‐term routine overloading. Twenty‐eight military academy cadets (age: 21.00 ± 1.1 yrs; height: 176.1 ± 4.8 cm; mass: 73.8 ± 7.0 kg) exposed for over 24 months to repetitive overloading were profiled via ultrasonography with a senior subgroup of them (n = 11; age = 21.4 ± 1.0 yrs; height = 176.5 ± 4.8 cm; mass = 71.4 ± 6.6 kg) also tested while walking and marching on a treadmill. A group of eleven ethnicity‐ and aged‐matched civilians (age = 21.6 ± 0.7 yrs; height = 176.8 ± 4.3 cm; mass = 74.6 ± 5.6 kg) was also profiled and tested. Cadets and civilians exhibited similar morphology (muscle and tendon thickness and cross‐sectional area, pennation angle, fascicle length) in 26 out of 29 sites including the Achilles tendon. However, patellar tendon thickness along the entire tendon was greater (p<0.05) by a mean of 16% for the senior cadets compared with civilians. Dynamically, cadets showed significantly smaller ranges of fascicle length change and lower shortening velocity in medial gastrocnemius during walking (44.0% and 47.6%, p<0.05 ‐ 0.01) and marching (27.5% and 34.3%, p<0.05 ‐ 0.01) than civilians. Furthermore, cadets showed lower normalised soleus electrical activity during walking (22.7%, p<0.05) and marching (27.0%, p<0.05). Therefore, 24‐36 months of continuous overloading, primarily occurring under aerobic conditions, leads to more efficient neural and mechanical behaviour in the triceps surae complex, without any major macroscopic alterations in key anatomical structures.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fascicle mechanics; Marching; Medial gastrocnemius; Overloading; Patellar tendon; Triceps surae; Ultrasound; REF2021
Subjects: Q Science > QM Human anatomy
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology > RM695 Physical medicine. physical therapy including massage, exercise, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, phototherapy, radiotherapy, thermotherapy, electrotherapy
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2020 10:43
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:07

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