Evaluation of triceps surae muscle length and resistance to passive lengthening in patients with acquired brain injury.

Barby Singer, J. Dunne, Kevin Singer, Garry Allison

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To examine changes in muscle length and resistance to passive lengthening in the triceps surae Muscles in patients with recently acquired brain injury.Background. Increased passive resistance in the triceps surae Muscles is Common following acquired brain injury. Adaptive shortening secondary to relative immobility. and increased stillness due to rheologic changes within the musculo-tendinous unit, may be exacerbated by plantarflexor Muscle overactivity related to the brain injury itself,Design. Three variables representing resistance to passive lengthening and soleus muscle length were compared between subjects with recent brain injury and age matched normal controls. Comparison between limbs was made for subjects with unilateral neurological impairment.Methods. Slow passive dorsiflexion stretches were performed using a computer controlled dynamometer. Muscle stillness in the initial and latter portion of the range. and the angles achieved at torques of 5 and 10 N in were determined from torque-angle curves. Maximal ankle dorsiflexion with the knee flexed was considered to reflect soleus muscle length,Results. Significant differences were demonstrated for all variables, except passive stiffness near the end of available range. The limb ipsilateral to unilateral brain injury differed from control limbs in that significantly less passive range of dorsiflexion was available and initial resistance to passive stretch was significantly less.Conclusions, The reduction in soleus Muscle length evident in subjects with recent acquired brain injury, even in neurologically unaffected limbs. may reflect the influence of relative immobility. Although plantartlexor Muscle overactivity, was found to be associated with increased resistance to slow passive stretch. the mechanism was unable to be elucidated From these data. The limb ipsilateral to unilateral neurological impairment cannot be considered to be a 'normal' control for comparative purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-161
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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