Finite element modeling of aponeurotomy: altered intramuscular myofascial force transmission yields complex sarcomere length distributions determining acute effects

C.A. Yucesoy, Hubertus F.J.M. Koopman, H.J. Grootenboer, P.A.J.B.M. Huijing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Finite element modeling of aponeurotomized rat extensor digitorium longus muscle was performed to investigate the acute effects of proximal aponeurotomy. The specific goal was to assess the changes in lengths of sarcomeres within aponeurotomized muscle and to explain how the intervention leads to alterations in muscle length–force characteristics. Major changes in muscle length–active force characteristics were shown for the aponeurotomized muscle modeled with (1) only a discontinuity in the proximal aponeurosis and (2) with additional discontinuities of the muscles’ extracellular matrix (i.e., when both myotendinous and myofascial force transmission mechanisms are interfered with). After muscle lengthening, two cut ends of the aponeurosis were separated by a gap. After intervention (1), only active slack length increased (by approximately 0.9 mm) and limited reductions in muscle active force were found (e.g., muscle optimum force decreased by only 1%) After intervention (2) active slack increased further (by 1.2 mm) and optimum length as well (by 2.0 mm) shifted and the range between these lengths increased. In addition, muscle active force was reduced substantially (e.g., muscle optimum force decreased by 21%). The modeled tearing of the intramuscular connective tissue divides the muscle into a proximal and a distal population of muscle fibers. The altered force transmission was shown to lead to major sarcomere length distributions [not encountered in the intact muscle and after intervention (1)], with contrasting effects for the two muscle fiber populations: (a) Within the distal population (i.e. fibers with no myotendinous connection to the muscles’ origin), sarcomeres were much shorter than within the proximal population (fibers with intact myotendinous junction at both ends). (b) Within the distal population, from proximal ends of muscle fibers to distal ends, the serial distribution of sarcomere lengths ranged from the lowest length to high lengths. In contrast within the proximal population, the direction of the distribution was reversed. Such differences in distribution of sarcomere lengths between the proximal and distal fiber populations explain the shifts in muscle active slack and optimal lengths. Muscle force reduction after intervention (2) is explained primarily by the short sarcomeres within the distal population. However, fiber stress distributions showed contribution of the majority of the sarcomeres to muscle force: myofascial force transmission prevents the sarcomeres from shortening to nonphysiological lengths. It is concluded that interfering with the intramuscular myofascial force transmission due to rupturing of the intramuscular connective tissue leads to a complex distribution of sarcomere lengths within the aponeurotomized muscle and this determines the acute effects of the intervention on muscle length–force characteristics rather than the intervention with the myotendinous force transmission after which the intervention was named. These results suggest that during surgery, but also postoperatively, major attention should be focused on the length and activity of aponeurotomized muscle, as changes in connective tissue tear depth will affect the acute effects of the intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-243
Number of pages17
JournalBiomechanics and modeling in mechanobiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • METIS-240693
  • IR-86558


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite element modeling of aponeurotomy: altered intramuscular myofascial force transmission yields complex sarcomere length distributions determining acute effects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this