Evoked spinal reflexes and force development in elite athletes with middle-portion Achilles tendinopathy.
Neuromuscular deficits in individuals with Achilles tendinopathy are not well understood. It is hypothesized that Achilles tendinopathic pain or release of neuropeptides in tendinopathy may modulate excitability or voluntary activation in ipsilateral motor units at the spinal/ supraspinal level. This group hypothesized that in athletes with unilateral Achilles tendinopathy there would be significant neuromuscular deficits with respect to evoked spinal reflexes and RFD on the side of the pathology.
14 athletes (mean ± SD age. 24.2 ± 1.7) who had unilateral chronic middle-portion Achilles tendinopathy were included. Measurements were taken from soleous reflex test, rate of force development (RFD) as a correspondent electromyography of the tibialis anterior and triceps surae muscles.
The study showed that athletes with unilateral chronic tendinopathy of their Achilles tendon had a greater descending neural drive, lower strength-independent rapid force capacity, decreased RFD and altered ability to rapidly activate between agonist and antagonist muscles (tibialis anterior – soleus). These results proved their initial hypothesis. Furthermore, these novel findings suggest factors that may lead, or result from, tendinopathy, and provide potentially relevant information for clinicians managing athletes with this condition. > From: Wang et al., J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 41 (2011) 785-794. All rights reserved to the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
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