Predictability of in Vivo Changes in Pennation Angle of Human Tibialis Anterior Muscle From Rest to Maximum Isometric Dorsiflexion

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1999 Feb;79(3):294-7. doi: 10.1007/s004210050510.


The aim of this study was to assess the predictability of in vivo, ultrasound-based changes in human tibialis anterior (TA) pennation angle from rest to maximum isometric dorsiflexion (MVC) using a planimetric model assuming constant thickness between aponeuroses and straight muscle fibres. Sagittal sonographs of TA were taken in six males at ankle angles of -15 degrees (dorsiflexion direction), 0 degrees (neutral position), + 15 (plantarflexion direction) and + 30 degrees both at rest and during dorsiflexor MVC trials performed on an isokinetic dynamometer. At all four ankle angles scans were taken from the TA proximal, central and distal regions. TA architecture did not differ (P > 0.05) neither between its two unipennate parts nor along the scanned regions over its length at a given ankle angle and state of contraction. Comparing MVC with rest at any given ankle angle, pennation angle was larger (62-71%, P < 0.01), fibre length smaller (37-40%, P < 0.01) and muscle thickness unchanged (P > 0.05). The model used estimated accurately (P > 0.05) changes in TA pennation angle occurring in the transition from rest to MVC and therefore its use is encouraged for estimating the isometric TA ankle moment and force generating capacity using musculoskeletal modelling.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Ankle / physiology
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Leg / anatomy & histology*
  • Leg / diagnostic imaging
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography