The mechanical function of the tibialis posterior muscle and its tendon during locomotion

Maharaj, Jayishni N., Cresswell, Andrew G. and Lichtwark, Glen A. (2016) The mechanical function of the tibialis posterior muscle and its tendon during locomotion. Journal of Biomechanics, 49 14: 3238-3243. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.08.006

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Author Maharaj, Jayishni N.
Cresswell, Andrew G.
Lichtwark, Glen A.
Title The mechanical function of the tibialis posterior muscle and its tendon during locomotion
Journal name Journal of Biomechanics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-9290
Publication date 2016-08-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.08.006
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 49
Issue 14
Start page 3238
End page 3243
Total pages 6
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Subject 1304 Biophysics
2732 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
2204 Biomedical Engineering
2742 Rehabilitation
Abstract The tibialis posterior (TP) muscle is believed to provide mediolateral stability of the subtalar joint during the stance phase of walking as it actively lengthens to resist pronation at foot contact and then actively shortens later in stance to contribute to supination. Because of its anatomical structure of short muscle fibres and long series elastic tissue, we hypothesised that TP would be a strong candidate for energy storage and return. We investigated the potential elastic function of the TP muscle and tendon through simultaneous measurements of muscle fascicle length (ultrasound), muscle tendon unit length (musculoskeletal modelling) and muscle activation (intramuscular electromyography). In early stance, TP fascicles actively shortened as the entire muscle-tendon unit lengthened, resulting in the absorption of energy through stretch of the series elastic tissue. Energy stored in the tendinous tissue from early stance was maintained during mid-stance, although a small amount of energy may have been absorbed via minimal shortening in the series elastic elements and lengthening of TP fascicles. A significant amount of shortening occurred in both the fascicles and muscle-tendon unit in late stance, as the activation of TP decreased and power was generated. The majority of the shortening was attributable to shortening of the tendinous tissue. We conclude that the tendinous tissue of TP serves two primary functions during walking: 1) to buffer the stretch of its fascicles during early stance and 2) to enhance the efficiency of the TP through absorption and return of elastic strain energy.
Keyword Walking
Intramuscular electromyography
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 1
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 8 August 2016. Article in press

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Mon, 22 Aug 2016, 23:26:22 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences