Validity of architectural properties of the hamstring muscles: correlation of ultrasound findings with cadaveric dissection

J Biomech. 2009 Nov 13;42(15):2549-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.07.011. Epub 2009 Jul 31.


The purpose of this study was to compare the architectural parameters of the long head of biceps femoris (BFlh) and semitendinosus (ST) muscles by comparing measurements from ultrasound (US) with those obtained from direct dissection. The BFlh and ST architectures were examined bilaterally in 6 legs from 3 male cadavers. The fascicle length, pennation angle, muscle thickness and muscle and tendon length were obtained from direct measurement and US scans along each muscle. Intraclass correlation coefficients between the two methods ranged from 0.905 to 0.913 for the BFlh variables and from 0.774 to 0.974 for the ST parameters. Compared with the direct measurements, the US method showed a mean typical error of 0.09-0.14 cm for muscle thickness, 1.01-1.31 degrees for the pennation angle, 0.92-1.71 cm for fascicle length and muscle-tendon length measurements. The US method is a valid alternative tool for assessing basic architectural parameters of ST and BFlh components of the hamstring muscles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cadaver
  • Dissection
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology*
  • Tendons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography