Acute effects of intramuscular aponeurotomy on muscle force and geometry as a function to muscle length were studied in rat m. gastrocnemius medialis (GM). Acutely after aponeurotomy, activation of the muscle at increasing lengths (acute trajectory) showed a spontaneous and progressive but partial tearing of the connective tissue interface between the fibres inserting directly proximally and distally to the location of the section. After this the muscle consisted morphologically of a stable proximal and a distal part (post-aponeurotomy). Post-aponeurotomy mean active sarcomere length within fibres of the proximal part was shown to be unaffected. In contrast, mean sarcomere length within the distal part was reduced substantially after aponeurotomy. However active sarcomeres in the distal part were still attaining higher lengths with increasing muscle lengths (p<0.005), indicating myofascial force transmission through the intact part of the connective tissue interface of the muscle parts. Post-aponeurotomy optimum muscle force was reduced substantially to less than 45% of pre-aponeurotomy values. During the acute trajectory the muscle yielded approximately 20% higher forces than post-aponeurotomy, indicating that myofascial force transmission was related to the area of connective tissue interface. It is concluded that after aponeurotomy of the proximal aponeurosis of rat GM, fibres without direct myotendinous connection to the origin of the muscle are still able to contribute to muscle force. As the magnitude of reduction in muscle force can only be explained partially by the spontaneous rupture of the connective tissue interface between proximal and distal muscle part, other factors causing a decrease of muscle force are present. Clinical implication of acute effects of intramuscular aponeurotomy are discussed.
- Intramuscular aponeurotomy
- Myofascial force transmission
- Sarcomere length
- m. Gastrocnemius medialis