The function of the popliteus muscle: An in vivo ultrasound shear wave elastography study

Hum Mov Sci. 2021 Apr:76:102751. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2020.102751. Epub 2021 Jan 21.


The function of the popliteus muscle [PM] is crucial to knee function. However, it remained unclear in vivo. Thus, this study aimed to explore the PM function in the non-weight-bearing and the weight-bearing conditions in vivo. Fourteen healthy subjects participated in this study. The muscle stiffness of the PM was measured using shear wave elastography as an index of muscle force. Muscle stiffness was measured at 30° knee flexion as a reference value. Muscle stiffness was also measured at passive 0°knee flexion and passive 20° external rotation and internal rotation at 30° knee flexion, and during isometric knee extension, flexion, external rotation, and internal rotation at 30° knee flexion. Moreover, muscle stiffness was measured during one-leg standing at 0° and 30° of knee flexion. Muscle stiffness was significantly greater at passive 0° knee flexion and 20° external rotation and during isometric knee flexion and internal rotation than the reference value. Two-way analysis of variance revealed significant main effects of weight bearing and knee angle: Muscle stiffness increased with weight bearing and knee extension. Moreover, muscle stiffness was significantly lower at 30° than at 0° knee flexion during one-leg standing. The PM function is knee flexion and internal rotation, and the PM force increases with weight bearing and decreases with knee flexion during one-leg standing.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Knee
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Rotation
  • Weight-Bearing*
  • Young Adult