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, 41, 72-76

Achilles Tendon Morphology, Plantar Flexors Torque and Passive Ankle Stiffness in Spastic Hemiparetic Stroke Survivors

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Achilles Tendon Morphology, Plantar Flexors Torque and Passive Ankle Stiffness in Spastic Hemiparetic Stroke Survivors

Bruno Freire et al. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon).

Abstract

Background: The present study compared the Achilles tendon morphological characteristics, plantar flexor toque and passive ankle stiffness between hemiparetic spastic stroke survivors and healthy subjects.

Methods: The Achilles tendon length was measured at the affected and contralateral limbs of twelve hemiparetic stroke survivors with ankle spasticity and twelve healthy subjects. The ankle was held at three different angles (20° plantar flexion, 0° and maximum dorsiflexion) while an ultrasound system was used to capture images from the Achilles tendon. Active and passive plantar flexor torque production was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer.

Findings: There was no significant difference in tendon length and Achilles tendon complacency between stroke survivors [affected limb: 20.8 (1.59) cm at 0° and 0.11 (0.09) cm/N; contralateral limb: 20.8 (1.7) cm at 0° and 0.12 (0.08) cm/N] and healthy subjects [20 (2.78) cm at 0° and 0.15 (0.1) cm/N]. The contralateral limb was stronger than the affected limb, while healthy participants presented larger active torque in relation to stroke survivors. There was no significant difference in passive ankle stiffness between the affected [0.43 (0.08) N/°] and the contralateral limb [0.40 (0.11) N/°], but affected limb was significantly stiffer than the healthy subjects [0.32 (0.07) N/°].

Interpretation: The larger passive torque and ankle joint stiffness from stroke survivors with similar Achilles tendon length compared to healthy subjects seem to be unrelated to tendon extensibility.

Keywords: Dynamometer; Muscle spasticity; Muscle strength; Tendons; Ultrasonography.

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