This study was designed to correlate changes in the rate-limiting enzymes of glycogen synthesis (glycogen synthase) and glycogen breakdown (glycogen phosphorylase) with the ultrastructural changes which occur in the soleus muscle following tenotomy. Soleus muscles were removed at 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 63 days after tenotomy and were prepared for electron microscopy or frozen for enzyme analysis. In the first 7 days posttenotomy, soleus muscle fibers underwent a series of degenerative changes, while both synthase and phosphorylase activities decreased. Over the next 8 weeks the histological appearance of the soleus muscle eventually returned to normal while synthase and phosphorylase activities increased. We suggest that recovery from tenotomy involves an increase in the energy demands of the muscle, resulting in the increased activity of the key rate-limiting enzymes of muscle glycogen metabolism from the drastically reduced levels observed in the period before recovery begins.