2005 Volume 3 Issue Special_Issue_2005 Pages 245-252
The present study aimed to determine the differences in the length-force relationship between muscle fiber and muscle tendon complex (MTC) and to relate the shape of the length-force relationship to the architectural changes in MTC (the elongation of tendon structures and pennation angle changes). In six male subjects, tetanic contractions (2s at 50Hz) of the tibialis anterior muscle were induced electrically. At a steady state of tetanic contraction, the muscle fiber length and pennation angle were measured from ultrasonic images, and the muscle fiber force, tendon force, MTC length and elongation of tendon structures were calculated. The measured and normalized length-force relationships were clearly different between muscle fiber and MTC, especially on the length axis. The differences could be attributed to the existence of compliant tendon structures and increment of pennation angles related to elongation of tendon structures, suggesting that compliant tendon structures in human muscles influence the length-dependent force generation in both muscle fiber and MTC.