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Concept: Musculoskeletal system


BACKGROUND: A common goal of persons post-stroke is to regain community ambulation. The plantar flexor muscles play an important role in propulsion generation and swing initiation as previous musculoskeletal simulations have shown. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that simulation results quantifying changes in plantar flexor activation and function in individuals post-stroke were consistent with (1) the purpose of an intervention designed to enhance plantar flexor function and (2) expected muscle function during gait based on previous literature. METHODS: Three-dimensional, forward dynamic simulations were created to determine the changes in model activation and function of the paretic ankle plantar flexor muscles for eight patients post-stroke after a 12-weeks FastFES gait retraining program. RESULTS: An median increase of 0.07 (Range [-0.01,0.22]) was seen in simulated activation averaged across all plantar flexors during the double support phase of gait from pre- to post-intervention. A concurrent increase in walking speed and plantar flexor induced forward center of mass acceleration by the plantar flexors was seen post-intervention for seven of the eight subject simulations. Additionally, post-training, the plantar flexors had an simulated increase in contribution to knee flexion acceleration during double support. CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, muscle-actuated musculoskeletal models were used to simulate the effect of a gait retraining intervention on post-stroke muscle model predicted activation and function. The simulations showed a new pattern of simulated activation for the plantar flexor muscles after training, suggesting that the subjects activated these muscles with more appropriate timing following the intervention. Functionally, simulations calculated that the plantar flexors provided greater contribution to knee flexion acceleration after training, which is important for increasing swing phase knee flexion and foot clearance.

Concepts: Knee, Sartorius muscle, Flexion, Extension, Semitendinosus muscle, Semimembranosus muscle, Popliteus muscle, Musculoskeletal system


Strong evidence indicates that highly repetitive manual work is associated with the development of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). One of the occupational activities that involves highly repetitive and forceful hand work is manual pipetting in chemical or biological laboratories. In the current study, we quantified tendon displacement as a parameter to assess the cumulative loading exposure of the musculoskeletal system in the thumb during pipetting. The maximal tendon displacement was found in the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon. Assuming that subjects' pipetting rates were maintained constant during a period of 1h, the average accumulated tendon displacement in the FPL reached 29m, which is in the lower range of those observed in other occupational activities, such as typing and nail gun operations. Our results showed that tendon displacement data contain relatively small standard deviations, despite high variances in thumb kinematics, suggesting that the tendon displacements may be useful in evaluating the musculoskeletal loading profile.

Concepts: Variance, Standard deviation, Flexor pollicis longus muscle, Extensor pollicis brevis muscle, Michigan, Musculoskeletal system


A high proportion of flexor digitorum longus attachment is found at the posteromedial border of the tibia, which is the most common location of medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Therefore, plantar flexion strength of the lesser toes could be related to MTSS; however, the relationship between MTSS and muscle strength of the hallux and lesser toes is not yet evaluated due to the lack of quantitative methods. This study investigated the muscle strength characteristics in runners with a history of MTSS by using a newly developed device to measure the muscle strength of the hallux, lesser toes, and ankle.

Concepts: Psychology, Foot, Hallux, Knee, Social sciences, Toe, Morton's toe, Musculoskeletal system


Objectives The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the use of part-time sick leave at the early (first 12 weeks) stage of work disability due to mental disorder or musculoskeletal disease on sustained return to work (RTW) and overall work participation. Methods In a nation-wide register-based quasi-experimental study, we compared sustained RTW (ie, ≥28 consecutive days at work) and 2-year work participation between the part- and full-time sickness absence (SA) benefit groups (N=1878 in each group) using propensity-score matching. Persons who received partial or full SA benefit due to musculoskeletal diseases or mental disorders between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011 were eligible as cases or controls, respectively. Results A higher proportion showed sustained RTW after part- compared to full-time sick leave [absolute risk difference 8.0%, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 5.3-10.9]. Moreover, the proportion of time at work was at a 10.5% higher level in the part- compared to full-time sick leave group. The prevalence of full disability retirement was almost three-fold among the full- compared to part-time sick leave group, whereas partial disability retirement was 4.5-fold more prevalent in the part- compared to full-time sick leave group. Conclusions The use of part-time sick leave during the first three months of SA enhances RTW and overall work participation during two years among persons with mental disorders and musculoskeletal diseases. The prescription of part-time sick leave can be recommended at an early stage of work disability.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Medical statistics, Mental disorder, Disability, Human musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal disorders


Birds have highly mobile necks, but neither the details of how they realize complex poses nor the evolution of this complex musculoskeletal system is well-understood. Most previous work on avian neck function has focused on dorsoventral flexion, with few studies quantifying lateroflexion or axial rotation. Such data are critical for understanding joint function, as musculoskeletal movements incorporate motion around multiple degrees of freedom simultaneously. Here we use biplanar X-rays on wild turkeys to quantify three-dimensional cervical joint range of motion in an avian neck to determine patterns of mobility along the cranial-caudal axis.

Concepts: Function, Dimension, Bird, Classical mechanics, Turkey, Galliformes, Motion, Musculoskeletal system


Two experiments (n = 10) were conducted to determine the effects of roller massager (RM) on ankle plantar flexor muscle recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Experiment 1 examined both functional [i.e., ankle plantar flexion maximal isometric contraction and submaximal (30%) sustained force; ankle dorsiflexion maximal range of motion and resistance to stretch; and medial gastrocnemius pain pressure threshold] and morphological [cross-sectional area, thickness, fascicle length, and fascicle angle] variables, before and immediately, 1, 24, 48, and 72 h after an EIMD stimulus. Experiment 2 examined medial gastrocnemius deoxyhaemoglobin concentration kinetics before and 48 h after EIMD. Participants performed both experiments twice: with (RM) and without (no-roller massager; NRM) the application of a RM (6 × 45 s; 20-s rest between sets). RM intervention did not alter the functional impairment after EIMD, as well as the medial gastrocnemius morphology and oxygenation kinetics (P > 0.05). Although, an acute increase of ipsilateral (RM = + 19%, NRM = -5%, P = 0.032) and a strong tendency for contralateral (P = 0.095) medial gastrocnemius pain pressure threshold were observed. The present results suggest that a RM has no effect on plantar flexors performance, morphology, and oxygenation recovery after EIMD, except for muscle pain pressure threshold (i.e., a soreness).

Concepts: Knee, Flexion, Peripheral neuropathy, Hip flexors, Dorsiflexion, Flexor muscle, Musculoskeletal system, Plantarflexion


Research into rare diseases is becoming more common, with recognition of the significant diagnostic and therapeutic care gaps. Registries are considered a key research methodology to address rare diseases. This report describes the structure of the Rare UK Diseases Study (RUDY) platform that aims to improve research processes and address many of the challenges of carrying out rare musculoskeletal disease research. RUDY is an internet-based platform with online registration, initial verbal consent, online capture of patient reported outcome measures and events within a dynamic consent framework. The database structure, security and governance framework are described.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Epidemiology, Database, Prevalence, Human musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal system, Musculoskeletal disorders


Neck pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide and it accounts for high economic and societal burden. Altered activation of the neck muscles is a common musculoskeletal impairment presented by patients with neck pain. The craniocervical flexion test with pressure biofeedback unit has been widely used in clinical practice to assess function of deep neck flexor muscles. This systematic review will assess the measurement properties of the craniocervical flexion test for assessing deep cervical flexor muscles.

Concepts: Psychometrics, Flexion, Hip flexors, Musculoskeletal system


The present study aimed to determine the relationship between passive stiffness of the plantar flexors and running performance in endurance runners. Forty-eight well-trained male endurance runners and 24 untrained male control subjects participated in this study. Plantar flexor stiffness during passive dorsiflexion was calculated from the slope of the linear portion of the torque-angle curve. Of the endurance runners included in the present study, running economy in 28 endurance runners was evaluated by measuring energy cost during three 4-min trials (14, 16, and 18 km/h) of submaximal treadmill running. Passive stiffness of the plantar flexors was significantly higher in endurance runners than in untrained subjects. Moreover, passive plantar flexor stiffness in endurance runners was significantly correlated with a personal best 5000-m race time. Furthermore, passive plantar flexor stiffness in endurance runners was significantly correlated with energy cost during submaximal running at 16 km/h and 18 km/h, and a trend towards such significance was observed at 14 km/h. The present findings suggest that stiffer plantar flexors may help achieve better running performance, with greater running economy, in endurance runners. Therefore, in the clinical setting, passive stiffness of the plantar flexors may be a potential parameter for assessing running performance.

Concepts: Present, Time, Flexion, Musculoskeletal system


This study compared adaptations in fascicle lengths, pennation angles, and muscle thickness of the lateral and medial gastrocnemii in response to 6 weeks of stretch training. The nondominant plantar flexors of 11 males were stretched five times per week for 6 weeks and compared with the contralateral leg and a nonstretched control group of 10 males. During stretch training, instantaneous electromyography was utilized to ensure passive muscle stretch. At baseline, week three, week six and 1 week after the conclusion of stretch training, ultrasound was used to measure fascicle lengths, pennation angles, muscle thickness of the lateral gastrocnemius and medial gastrocnemius, and Achilles tendon thickness and length. Plantar flexion torque was measured, and voluntary activation was assessed. Muscle thickness increased 5.6% after 6 weeks of stretch training (P=.009). The fascicles in the lateral gastrocnemius lengthened to a greater extent than the medial. Overall, fascicles lengthened 25% (P<.001) in the muscle tendon junction and 5.1% (P<.001) in the muscle belly. Pennation angles were unchanged in the medial gastrocnemius but decreased in the lateral gastrocnemius 7.1% (P=.02). There was no change in maximal voluntary contraction, voluntary activation, tendon length, or thickness. This study demonstrates that stretch training is a viable modality to alter muscle architecture of the human gastrocnemius through lengthening of muscle fascicles, decreasing pennation angles, and increasing muscle thickness, albeit adaptations are unequal between the lateral and medial heads.

Concepts: Muscle, Knee, Units of measurement, Tendon, Length, Order theory, Musculoskeletal system, Muscle fascicle