Triceps surae activation is altered in male runners with Achilles tendinopathy

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):166-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.08.010. Epub 2012 Nov 9.


Achilles tendinopathy is a common injury in running sports however the exact etiology of Achilles injury is still unclear. In recent years, altered neuromotor recruitment patterns of the triceps surae have been hypothesized to create differential intra-tendinous loads leading to pathology; however, this hypothesis has not been investigated. Further, the effect foot orthoses may have on neuromotor recruitment of the triceps surae in Achilles tendinopathy has not been investigated.

Methods: The electromyographic activity of the triceps surae was recorded during an over-ground running task. Fifteen Achilles injured participants and 19 asymptomatic controls were assessed in a footwear only condition. The Achilles injured participants were also assessed running in a pre-fabricated foot orthoses.

Results: In Achilles injured participants, there was a significant difference between soleus and lateral gastrocnemius offset times during running compared to the asymptomatic controls (p<0.05). There were no significant differences in triceps surae muscle activity between the footwear only and footwear and orthoses condition in the Achilles injured participants.

Conclusions: The finding that triceps surae activity is altered in participants with Achilles tendinopathy may have clinical importance as it suggests that intra-tendinous loads are altered which may contribute to pathological changes. Further, foot orthoses have no immediate effect on the neuromotor control of the triceps surae.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / physiopathology*
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Running*
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology*