Passive muscle mechanical properties of the medial gastrocnemius in young adults with spastic cerebral palsy
Individuals with spastic cerebral palsy (SCP) exhibit restricted joint range of motion and increased joint stiffness due to structural alterations of their muscles. Little is known about which muscle-tendon structures are responsible for these alterations. The aim of this study was to compare the passive mechanics of the ankle joint and medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle in young adults with SCP and typically developed (TD) individuals. Nine ambulant SCP (17Რyears) and ten TD individuals (18Რyears) participated in the study. Physiological cross sectional area was estimated using freehand 3D ultrasound and found to be 37% lower in the SCP group. An isokinetic dynamometer rotated the ankle through its range while joint torque and ultrasound images of the MG muscle fascicles were simultaneously measured. Mean ankle stiffness was found to be 51% higher and mean MG fascicle strain 47% lower in the SCP group. Increased resistance to passive ankle dorsiflexion in SCP appears to be related to the inability of MG muscle fascicles to elongate with increased force.
Journal of Biomechanics