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The Relationship of Muscle Thickness and Pennation Angle to Muscle Function by Ultrasound Imaging

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This purpose of this study was to develop reliable methods for ultrasound measurements of skeletal muscle architecture, and to identify which specific quadriceps measurements most closely relate to peak isometric

This purpose of this study was to develop reliable methods for ultrasound measurements of skeletal muscle architecture, and to identify which specific quadriceps measurements most closely relate to peak isometric torque of the leg extensors. These data were obtained as part of a larger research study and consist of 9 total subjects (4 males, 5 females; age (30.6 ± 13.6yr). Ultrasound images for muscle thickness and pennation angle were obtained for each subject during two separate testing days (separated by 5-10 days). Images were acquired at various anatomical sites of the quadriceps and each image was analyzed using Image J software. Quadriceps muscles assessed for muscle thickness and pennation angle included the vastus lateralis (VL), and vastus intermedius (VI), while rectus femoris (RF) was assessed only for muscle thickness. Peak isometric torque measurements were obtained at 60 degrees of knee angle for knee extension using an isokinetic dynamometer. Results show that the methods chosen for ultrasound measurement produced reliable inter-day results for muscle thickness and pennation angle. VL muscle thickness and pennation angle obtained at the lateral site corresponding to 39% of leg length was highly related to peak isometric torque for knee extension. The results of this study identify specific measurement sites that are related to muscle function. In addition, these data further validate that ultrasound measurement is reliable to measure muscle thickness and pennation angle in skeletal muscle.

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  • 2016-05