Medial gastrocnemius muscle growth during adolescence is mediated by increased fascicle diameter rather than by longitudinal fascicle growth

G. Weide, P.A.J.B.M. Huijing, J.C. Maas, J.G. Becher, J. Harlaar, R.T. Jaspers

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Using a cross-sectional design, the purpose of this study was to determine how pennate gastrocnemius medialis (GM) muscle geometry changes as a function of adolescent age. Sixteen healthy adolescent males (aged 10-19years) participated in this study. GM muscle geometry was measured within the mid-longitudinal plane obtained from a 3D voxel-array composed of transverse ultrasound images. Images were taken at footplate angles corresponding to standardised externally applied footplate moments (between 4Nm plantar flexion and 6Nm dorsal flexion). Muscle activity was recorded using surface electromyography (EMG), expressed as a percentage of maximal voluntary contraction (%MVC). To minimise the effects of muscle excitation, EMG inclusion criteria were set at <10% of MVC. In practice, however, normalised EMG levels were much lower. For adolescent subjects with increasing ages, GM muscle (belly) length increased due to an increase in the length component of the physiological cross-sectional area measured within the mid-longitudinal plane. No difference was found between fascicles at different ages, but the aponeurosis length and pennation angle increased by 0.5cm year
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-541
JournalJournal of anatomy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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