Intermuscular interaction via myofascial force transmission: Effects of tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus length on force transmission from rat extensor digitorum longus muscle

Huub Maas, Guus C. Baan, P.A.J.B.M. Huijing

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    Force transmission in rat anterior crural compartment, containing tibialis anterior (TA), extensor hallucis longus (EHL) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles, was investigated. These muscles together with the muscles of the peroneal compartment were excited maximally. Force was measured at both proximal and distal tendons of EDL muscle as well as at the tied distal tendons of TA and EHL muscles (the TA+EHL complex). Effects of TA+EHL complex length and force on proximally and distally measured forces of EDL muscle kept at constant muscle–tendon complex length were assessed. Length changes of EDL muscle were imposed by movement of the proximal force transducer to different positions. Proximal EDL force was unequal to distal EDL force (active as well as passive) over a wide range of EDL muscle–tendon complex lengths. This is an indication that force is also transmitted out of EDL muscle via pathways other than the tendons (i.e. inter- and/or extramuscular myofascial force transmission). At constant low EDL length, distal lengthening of the TA+EHL complex increased proximal EDL force and decreased distal EDL force. At optimum EDL length, TA+EHL active force was linearly related to the difference between proximal and distal EDL active force. These results indicate intermuscular myofascial force transmission between EDL muscle and the TA+EHL complex. The most likely pathway for this transmission is via connections of the intact intermuscular connective tissue network. The length effects of the TA+EHL complex can be understood on the basis of changes in the configuration, and consequently the stiffness, of these connections. Damage to connective tissue of the compartment decreased the proximo-distal EDL force difference, which indicates the importance of an intact connective tissue network for force transmission from muscle fibers to bone.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)927-940
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of biomechanics
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Myofascial
    • Connective tissue
    • Rat
    • IR-74559
    • Dorsal flexors
    • Force transmission
    • METIS-204056

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