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, 29 (1), 33-9

Quantifying the Passive Stretching Response of Human Tibialis Anterior Muscle Using Shear Wave Elastography

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Quantifying the Passive Stretching Response of Human Tibialis Anterior Muscle Using Shear Wave Elastography

Terry K Koo et al. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon).

Abstract

Background: Quantifying passive stretching responses of individual muscles helps the diagnosis of muscle disorders and aids the evaluation of surgical/rehabilitation treatments. Utilizing an animal model, we demonstrated that shear elastic modulus measured by supersonic shear wave elastography increases linearly with passive muscle force. This study aimed to use this state-of-the-art technology to study the relationship between shear elastic modulus and ankle dorsi-plantarflexion angle of resting tibialis anterior muscles and extract physiologically meaningful parameters from the elasticity-angle curve to better quantify passive stretching responses.

Methods: Elasticity measurements were made at resting tibialis anterior of 20 healthy subjects with the ankle positioned from 50° plantarflexion to up to 15° dorsiflexion at every 5° for two cycles. Elasticity-angle data was curve-fitted by optimizing slack angle, slack elasticity, and rate of increase in elasticity within a piecewise exponential model.

Findings: Elasticity-angle data of all subjects were well fitted by the piecewise exponential model with coefficients of determination ranging between 0.973 and 0.995. Mean (SD) of slack angle, slack elasticity, and rate of increase in elasticity were 10.9° (6.3°), 5.8 (1.9) kPa, and 0.0347 (0.0082) respectively. Intraclass correlation coefficients of each parameter were 0.852, 0.942, and 0.936 respectively, indicating excellent test-retest reliability.

Interpretation: This study demonstrated the feasibility of using supersonic shear wave elastography to quantify passive stretching characteristics of individual muscle and provided preliminary normative values of slack angle, slack elasticity, and rate of increase in elasticity for human tibialis anterior muscles. Future studies will investigate diagnostic values of these parameters in clinical applications.

Keywords: Anterior compartment syndrome; Muscle contracture; Passive stretch; Reliability; Shear elastic modulus; Shear wave elastography; Tibialis anterior.

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