Visco-elastic properties of tendon structures in human medial gastrocnemius muscle

Keitaro Kubo*, Yasuo Kawakami, Hiroaki Kanehisa, Tetsuo Fukunaga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the viscoelastic properties of tendon structures in humans. Elongation of the tendon and aponeurosis of medial gastrocnemius muscle (MG) was directly measured by ultrasonography, while subjects (N = 12) performed ramp isometric plantar flexion up to the voluntary maximum, followed by a ramp relaxation. The relationship between estimated muscle force (Ff) and tendon elongation (dL) was fitted to a linear regression, the slope of which was defined as stiffness of the tendon structures. The hysteresis was calculated as the ratio of the area within the Ff-dL loop (elastic energy dissipated) to the area beneath the load portion of the curve (elastic energy input). The resulting Ff-dL relationship was non-linear in form, as previously reported on animal and human tendons in vitro. The mean stiffness was 24.0 ± 5.6 N/mm. However, there was a considerable inter-subject variability (15.8 to 36.8 N/mm). The Young's modulus, i. e., the slope of the stress-strain curve, was 280 MPa, which tended to be lower than the previously reported values for human tendons. It was also found that the strain of the tendon structures was homogeneously distributed along its length. The mean hysteresis (energy dissipation) was 23.4 ± 12.4%. However, again there was a considerable inter-subject variability (8.7 to 39.3%). The present results indicated that the tendon structures of human MG was considerably compliant and its hysteresis was in accordance with previously reported values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-606
Number of pages10
Journaljapanese journal of physical fitness and sports medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Human tendon
  • Hysteresis
  • Stiffness
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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