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Title: In vivo operating lengths of the gastrocnemius muscle during gait in children who idiopathically toe-walk
Authors: Harkness-Armstrong, C
Maganaris, C
Walton, R
Wright, DM
Bass, A
Baltzopoulos, V
O'Brien, TD
Keywords: equinus;idiopathic toe-walking;muscle;ultrasound
Issue Date: 22-Jun-2021
Publisher: Experimental Physiology
Citation: Harkness-Armstrong. C., Maganaris. C., Walton. R., Wright. D.M., Bass. A., Baltzopoulos. V. and O'Brien. T. D. (2021) 'In vivo operating lengths of the gastrocnemius muscle during gait in children who idiopathically toe-walk'. Experimental Physiology, 106, pp. 1- 8. doi: org/10.1113/EP089658.
Abstract: Children who idiopathically toe-walk (ITW) habitually operate at greater plantarflexion angles than typically developing (TD) children, which might result in shorter, sub-optimal gastrocnemius fascicle lengths. However, currently no experimental evidence exists to substantiate this notion. Five children who ITW and 14 TD children completed a gait analysis, whilst gastrocnemius fascicle behaviour was simultaneously quantified using ultrasound. The moment–angle (hip, knee and ankle) and moment–length (gastrocnemius) relationships were determined from isometric maximum voluntary contractions (MVC) on an isokinetic dynamometer combined with ultrasound. During gait, children who ITW operated at more plantarflexed angles (Δ = 20°; P = 0.013) and longer muscle fascicle lengths (Δ = 12 mm; P = 0.008) than TD children. During MVC, no differences in the peak moment of any joint were found. However, peak plantarflexor moment occurred at significantly more plantarflexed angles (−16 vs. 1°; P = 0.010) and at longer muscle fascicle lengths (44 vs. 37 mm; P = 0.001) in children who ITW than TD children. Observed alterations in the moment–angle and moment–length relationships of children who ITW coincided with the ranges used during gait. Therefore, the gastrocnemius muscle in children who ITW operates close to the peak of the force–length relationship, similarly to TD children. Thus, this study indicates that idiopathic toe-walking is truly an ankle joint pathology, and children who ITW present with substantial alterations in the gastrocnemius muscle functional properties, which appear well adapted to the characteristic demands of equinus gait. These findings should be considered when prescribing clinical treatments to restore typical gait.
Description: DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
ISSN: 0958-0670
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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