Comparison in lower leg neuromuscular activity between runners with unilateral mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy and healthy individuals

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2011 Jun;21(3):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2010.11.010. Epub 2011 Jan 8.


Neuromuscular control in functional situations and possible impairments due to Achilles tendinopathy are not well understood. Thirty controls (CO) and 30 runners with Achilles tendinopathy (AT) were tested on a treadmill at 3.33 ms(-1) (12 km h(-1)). Neuromuscular activity of the lower leg (tibialis anterior, peroneal, and gastrocnemius muscle) was measured by surface electromyography. Mean amplitude values (MAV) for the gait cycle phases preactivation, weight acceptance and push-off were calculated and normalised to the mean activity of the entire gait cycle. MAVs of the tibialis anterior did not differ between CO and AT in any gait cycle phase. The activation of the peroneal muscle was lower in AT in weight acceptance (p=0.006), whereas no difference between CO and AT was found in preactivation (p=0.71) and push-off (p=0.83). Also, MAVs of the gastrocnemius muscle did not differ between AT and CO in preactivity (p=0.71) but were reduced in AT during weight acceptance (p=0.001) and push-off (p=0.04). Achilles tendinopathy does not seem to alter pre-programmed neural control but might induce mechanical deficits of the lower extremity during weight bearing (joint stability). This should be addressed in the therapy process of AT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction
  • Running*
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology*