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Is ankle contracture after stroke due to abnormal intermuscular force transmission?

, : Is ankle contracture after stroke due to abnormal intermuscular force transmission?. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 31(1): 13-18

Contracture after stroke could be due to abnormal mechanical interactions between muscles. This study examined if ankle plantarflexor muscle contracture after stroke is due to abnormal force transmission between the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Muscle fascicle lengths were measured from ultrasound images of soleus muscles in five subjects with stroke and ankle contracture and six able-bodied subjects. Changes in soleus fascicle length or pennation during passive knee extension at fixed ankle angle were assumed to indicate intermuscular force transmission. Changes in soleus fascicle length or pennation were adjusted for changes in ankle motion. Subjects with stroke had significant ankle contracture. After adjustment for ankle motion, 9 of 11 subjects demonstrated small changes in soleus fascicle length with knee extension, suggestive of intermuscular force transmission. However, the small changes in fascicle length may have been artifacts caused by movement of the ultrasound transducers. There were no systematic differences in change in fascicle length (median between-group difference adjusting for ankle motion = -0.01, 95% CI -0.26-0.08 mm/degree of knee extension) or pennation (-0.05, 95% CI -0.15-0.07 degree/ degree of knee extension). This suggests ankle contractures after stroke were not due to abnormal (systematically increased or decreased) intermuscular force transmission between the gastrocnemius and soleus.


PMID: 25268148

DOI: 10.1123/jab.2014-0064

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