ISB clinical biomechanics award winner 2023 : Medial gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon interplay during gait in cerebral palsy
Cenni, F., Alexander, N., Sukanen, M., Mustafaoglu, A., Wang, Z., Wang, R., & Finni, T. (2024). ISB clinical biomechanics award winner 2023 : Medial gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon interplay during gait in cerebral palsy. Clinical Biomechanics, 111, Article 106158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2023.106158
Published inClinical Biomechanics
© 2023 The Author(s)
Background The interplay between the medial gastrocnemius muscle and the Achilles tendon is crucial for efficient walking. In cerebral palsy, muscle and tendon remodelling alters the role of contractile and elastic components. The aim was to investigate the length changes of medial gastrocnemius belly and fascicles, and Achilles tendon to understand their interplay to gait propulsion in individuals with cerebral palsy. Methods Twelve young individuals with cerebral palsy and 12 typically developed peers were assessed during multiple gait cycles using 3D gait analysis combined with a portable ultrasound device. By mapping ultrasound image locations into the shank reference frame, the medial gastrocnemius belly, fascicle, and Achilles tendon lengths were estimated throughout the gait cycle. Participants with cerebral palsy were classified into equinus and non-equinus groups based on their sagittal ankle kinematics. Findings In typically developed participants, the Achilles tendon undertook most of the muscle-tendon unit lengthening during stance, whereas in individuals with cerebral palsy, this lengthening was shared between the medial gastrocnemius belly and Achilles tendon, which was more evident in the equinus group. The lengthening behaviour of the medial gastrocnemius fascicles resembled that of the Achilles tendon in cerebral palsy. Interpretation The findings revealed similar length changes of the medial gastrocnemius fascicles and Achilles tendon, highlighting the enhanced role of the muscle in absorbing energy during stance in cerebral palsy. These results, together with the current knowledge of increased intramuscular stiffness, suggest the exploitation of intramuscular passive forces for such energy absorption. ...
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Related funder(s)Promobilia Foundation; European Commission
The content of the publication reflects only the author’s view. The funder is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Additional information about fundingFrancesco Cenni is funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie, grant agreement No 101028724, and Promobilia No 20040.
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