Force transmission via pathways other than myotendinous ones, is referred to as myofascial force transmission. The present study shows that myofascial force transmission occurs not only between adjacent synergistic muscles or antagonistic muscles in adjacent compartments, but also between most distant antagonistic muscles within a segment. Tibialis anterior (TA), extensor hallucis longus (EHL), extensor digitorum longus (EDL), peroneal muscles (PER) and triceps surae muscles of 7 male anaesthetised Wistar rats were attached to force transducers, while connective tissues at the muscle bellies were left fully intact. The TA + EHL-complex was made to exerted force at different lengths, but the other muscles were held at a constant muscle–tendon complex length. With increasing TA + EHL-complex length, active force of maximally activated EDL, PER and triceps surae decreased by maximally ∼5%, ∼32% and ∼16%, respectively. These decreases are for the largest part explained by myofascial force transmission. Particularly the force decrease in triceps surae muscles is remarkable, because these muscles are located furthest away from the TA + EHL-complex. It is concluded that substantial extramuscular myofascial force transmission occurs between antagonistic muscles even if the length of the path between them is considerable.
- Synergistic muscles
- Tibialis anterior muscle
- Connective tissue
- Antagonistic muscles
- Extensor digitorum longus muscle
- Triceps surae
- Myofascial force transmission