A pilot study of musculoskeletal abnormalities in patients in recovery from a unilateral rupture-repaired achilles tendon

Dong Sun, Gusztáv Fekete, Julien BAKER, Qichang Mei, Bíró István, Yan Zhang, Yaodong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the inter-limb joint kinematics, joint moments, muscle forces, and joint reaction forces in patients after an Achilles tendon rupture (ATR) via subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling. Six patients recovering from a surgically repaired unilateral ATR were included in this study. The bilateral Achilles tendon (AT) lengths were evaluated using ultrasound imaging. The three-dimensional marker trajectories, ground reaction forces, and surface electromyography (sEMG) were collected on both sides during self-selected speed during walking, jogging and running. Subject-specific musculoskeletal models were developed to compute joint kinematics, joint moments, muscle forces and joint reaction forces. AT lengths were significantly longer in the involved side. The side-to-side triceps surae muscle strength deficits were combined with decreased plantarflexion angles and moments in the injured leg during walking, jogging and running. However, the increased knee extensor femur muscle forces were associated with greater knee extension degrees and moments in the involved limb during all tasks. Greater knee joint moments and joint reaction forces versus decreased ankle joint moments and joint reaction forces in the involved side indicate elevated knee joint loads compared with reduced ankle joint loads that are present during normal activities after an ATR. In the frontal plane, increased subtalar eversion angles and eversion moments in the involved side were demonstrated only during jogging and running, which were regarded as an indicator for greater medial knee joint loading. It seems after an ATR, the elongated AT accompanied by decreased plantarflexion degrees and calf muscle strength deficits indicates ankle joint function impairment in the injured leg. In addition, increased knee extensor muscle strength and knee joint loads may be a possible compensatory mechanism for decreased ankle function. These data suggest patients after an ATR may suffer from increased knee overuse injury risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4642
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Ankle
  • Gait
  • Knee
  • Musculoskeletal modeling

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