MRI determination of muscle recruitment variations in dynamic ankle plantar flexion exercise

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Oct;82(10):760-5. doi: 10.1097/01.PHM.0000087460.38514.E7.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the muscle recruitment variations in the dynamic ankle plantar flexion.

Design: A total of 17 subjects participated in this study and performed the ankle plantar flexion exercise. Magnetic resonance T2-weighted images were obtained from the calf before and immediately after exercise to calculate each T2 relaxation time in the medial and lateral gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum/hallucis longus, peroneus longus, and dorsiflexors.

Results: All the muscles except the dorsiflexors showed significantly increased T2 relaxation time and signal intensity on T2-weighted images after exercise. Above all, both gastrocnemius muscles showed significantly greater postexercise T2 relaxation time than the soleus, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum/hallucis longus, and dorsiflexors. In addition, the peroneus longus had a tendency to show the greatest T2 relaxation time next to the gastrocnemius, but there was no significant difference between them.

Conclusions: The present study may suggest that the gastrocnemius muscle, especially the medial side, was best recruited in the dynamic ankle plantar flexion exercise. In addition, it is possible that the peroneus longus was most recruited next to the gastrocnemius in this exercise mode.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological / physiology*