Biomechanical behavior of the plantar flexor muscle-tendon unit after an Achilles tendon rupture

Am J Sports Med. 2001 May-Jun;29(3):321-6. doi: 10.1177/03635465010290031201.


The purpose of this study was to examine the biomechanical behavior of the plantar flexor muscle-tendon unit in subjects who had ruptured their Achilles tendon. Twenty-six men and 14 women volunteered for the study. Eighteen subjects had been treated operatively and 22, nonoperatively. All subjects had ruptured their Achilles tendon more than 1 year before the study, and 28 of the 40 ruptures occurred 5 years or less before the day of testing. A KinCom dynamometer was used to measure ankle joint angle, passive torque, and maximal isometric plantar flexor torque. During a 2-minute passive calf stretch, stiffness and torque relaxation were calculated. Isometric torque and peak passive torque were 17% and 10% greater for the uninvolved versus the involved limb, whereas stiffness and torque relaxation were not different between limbs. The time since injury did not influence the results, nor did the mode of initial treatment, that is, whether the subjects were treated operatively or nonoperatively. These findings suggest that changes in strength and peak passive torque may be chronic adaptations associated with Achilles tendon rupture.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / injuries*
  • Achilles Tendon / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elasticity
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Recurrence
  • Rupture / physiopathology
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Tendon Injuries / therapy
  • Torque