Special Issue "Human Skeletal Muscle and Tendon Characteristics in Sport and Rehabilitation"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Adam Kawczyński
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Paralimpic Sports, University School of Physical Education, 51-612 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: skeletal muscle sensory-motor and elastic properties in relation to muscle pain and training
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Dariusz Mroczek
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological and Motor Sport Bases, University School of Physical Education, 51-612 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: His current project is “central and peripheral fatigue in sports team games”. Research interest is also focused on the assessment of viscoelastic properties in fatigue and motor control training.
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Dr. Sebastian Klich
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Paralimpic Sports, University School of Physical Education, 51-612 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: Dr. Klich's research focuses on sport and exercise physiology and biomechanics, specifically in the mechanical and morphological properties of rotator cuff muscles. Dr. Klich currently investigates central and peripheral factors of fatigue and the influence of injury.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mechanical loadings may provoke alterations of the morphological properties and viscoelasticity of tendons and muscles. In this case, tendon loadings may affect muscle properties (e.g., tendon thickness and viscoelastic characteristics of the muscle belly). During repetitive sports actions, fatigue induces modifications in muscle characteristics, such as stiffness and creep, and in the synchronization of synergic muscle activity, which in turn results in non-functional kinematics. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate both the morphological and viscoelastic properties of muscles and tendons during fatigue exercise. The investigated area may include a whole series of different measurements (i.e., myotonometry, ultrasonography, and algometry). The greatest advantage of those measurements is the direct monitoring of overloading and fatigue alterations in muscle properties. Additionally, final findings might be assessed in sport science, medicine, rehabilitation, and public health, as a preventive method.

This research topic “Human Skeletal Muscle and Tendon Characteristics in Sport and Rehabilitation” determines the link between recreational activity, professional sports performance, rehab, and well-being. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Recreational activity as a benefit for health.
  • Optimization of sports performance by investigating muscle mechanical (viscoelastic), morphological, and architectonical properties.
  • Skeletal muscle monitoring as an injury preventive method.
  • Muscle and tendon characteristics in rehabilitation and medicine.
  • Optimization of rehab and athletic training after musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Digitalization in in modern sport and medicine.

Best Regards,

Prof. Adam Kawczyński
Prof. Dariusz Mroczek
Dr. Sebastian Klich
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • mechanical properties
  • muscle stiffness
  • ultrasound
  • myotonometry
  • sport
  • prevention

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Modified Ankle Joint Neuromechanics during One-Legged Heel Raise Test after an Achilles Rupture and Its Associations with Jumping
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 2227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11052227 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 542
Abstract
This study had two purposes. The first purpose of the study was to compare the electromyographic(EMG) and dynamic characteristics in injured and non-injured legs during the one-legged heel-raise test after a unilateral Achilles repair. The second purpose was to determine the correlations between [...] Read more.
This study had two purposes. The first purpose of the study was to compare the electromyographic(EMG) and dynamic characteristics in injured and non-injured legs during the one-legged heel-raise test after a unilateral Achilles repair. The second purpose was to determine the correlations between the EMG results and the dynamic characteristics and between the characteristics in the eccentric phase and jumping distance. Twenty-six participants who underwent an Achilles repair between 4 and 12 months prior to the measurement were recruited to perform the following bilateral tests: (1) one-legged heel-raise test with measurements of muscle activation, kinematics, and kinetics and (2) one-legged forward jumping. During the heel-raise exercise, there were increases of the EMG amplitudes in the soleus and tibialis anterior muscles, lower ankle joint angle and angular velocity, lower normalized ground reaction force, and mechanical work in the repaired legs in comparison to the non-injured legs. The EMG results of the medial gastrocnemius and soleus muscles correlated with the dynamic results (rs = 0.467 and −0.537). Furthermore, the dynamic data in the eccentric phase were correlated with the jumping performance (rs = 0.575 and −0.471). It is concluded the soleus muscle undergoes neuromechanical changes, including changes in EMG and dynamic characteristics, and changes affecting jumping performance. Full article
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Article
Changes in Muscle Activity Imbalance of the Lower Limbs Following 3 Weeks of Supplementary Body-Weight Unilateral Training
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 1494; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11041494 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 575
Abstract
This study examined the effects of a short-term supplementary body-weight training program on changes in the muscle activity imbalance of the lower limbs during high-speed running in soccer players. Fifteen professional male soccer players took part in the study (age: 25 ± 5 [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of a short-term supplementary body-weight training program on changes in the muscle activity imbalance of the lower limbs during high-speed running in soccer players. Fifteen professional male soccer players took part in the study (age: 25 ± 5 years, body mass: 79.2 ± 10.8 kg, stature: 177 ± 10 cm, training experience: 12 ± 5 years). The evaluations of lower limb muscle activity imbalance via surface electromyography (sEMG) were performed twice (pre- and post-intervention), at a three-week interval. The sEMG was measured bilaterally from the area of quadriceps (Q), hamstrings (H), and gluteal muscles (G) during high-speed running at 18 km/h using sEMG shorts. Between measurements, the athletes performed the supplementary body-weight program of the lower limbs 4 times a week for 3 weeks. The training included six body-weight exercises performed unilaterally. The load progression included an additional set of each exercise in successive weeks of the experiment. The two-way repeated-measures ANOVA indicated a statistically significant main interaction for time × muscle (p = 0.006; F = 6.948; η2 = 0.332). The post-hoc analysis for the interaction effect of time × muscle showed a statistically significant decrease in muscle imbalance for the post-intervention compared to the pre-intervention for the H (p < 0.001; ES = 1.32), G (p = 0.002; ES = 0.92), and T (p < 0.001; ES = 1.54), but not for Q (p = 0.56; ES = 0.14). Moreover, there was a statistically significant greater imbalance between the H, G, and T muscles versus Q (p = 0.043, ES = 1.15; p = 0.006, ES = 1.57; p = 0.001, ES = 1.69, respectively) for the values recorded pre-intervention. Changes in muscle activity after 3 weeks of sports-specific movement patterns were statistically significant. For the gluteal (G) and hamstring (H), the imbalance between the limbs decreased significantly (p = 0.01). The imbalance in the quadriceps muscles (Q), with respect to each limb, did not decrease significantly (p = 0.82) following the training intervention. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that in-season soccer training supplemented with a body-weight training program successfully decreases gluteal and hamstring imbalance between limbs after 3 weeks of training. Full article
Article
Intensive Rehabilitation Program in Arterial Occlusive Disease Patients
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 1184; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11031184 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 564
Abstract
Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) limits walking efficiency and distance. The main disabling symptom is vasculopathy that leads to claudicatio intermittens and limits walking efficiency. Stretching techniques are effective in treatments for retractions and are used to improve flexibility of triceps surae and [...] Read more.
Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) limits walking efficiency and distance. The main disabling symptom is vasculopathy that leads to claudicatio intermittens and limits walking efficiency. Stretching techniques are effective in treatments for retractions and are used to improve flexibility of triceps surae and range of motion of the ankle. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of a combined walking and stretching program on walking efficiency in elderly PAOD patients. Seventy patients with PAOD stage II of the Leriche–Fontaine classification were randomly assigned into a stretching group (SG) or conditioning group (CG). Both groups participated in an eleven-day intensive rehabilitation program based on walking and strength training, while the SG performed five extra sessions of stretching. Walking autonomy was assessed through treadmill and overground tests with the recording of initial and absolute pain. A univariate ANOVA analysis was applied for the differences between the initial and final outcomes. Walking autonomy improved in both groups (p < 0.01), while only the SG improved flexibility (from −14.0 ± 8.1 to −10.3 ± 8.3 cm; p < 0.01). An intensive eleven-day rehabilitation program based on walking, strength, and stretching exercises is effective to improve the onset and the delay of pain during walking in patients with PAOD. Full article
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Article
The Flexor Retinaculum Connects the Surrounding Structures into the Medial Ankle Complex
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(22), 7972; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10227972 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 589
Abstract
This study aimed to prove the hypothesis that the medial structures of the ankle are interconnected through the flexor retinaculum’s projections. We conducted a retrospective re-evaluation of 132 MRI examinations of the ankle joint from 57 females and 75 males with an age [...] Read more.
This study aimed to prove the hypothesis that the medial structures of the ankle are interconnected through the flexor retinaculum’s projections. We conducted a retrospective re-evaluation of 132 MRI examinations of the ankle joint from 57 females and 75 males with an age range of 18–65 and a mean age of 35 years. The correlation between the presence of connections between the flexor retinaculum and the deltoid ligament, the spring ligament, the inferior extensor retinaculum, the paratenon, the fibulotalocalcaneal ligament, the fascia covering the abductor hallucis, and the flexor fibrous sheath were studied. The most common connections of the flexor retinaculum were to the deltoid ligament (97%), the fibulotalocalcaneal ligament (84.1%), and the flexor fibrous sheath (83.3%). Interconnection between the flexor retinaculum and the deltoid ligament correlated with the presence of connections between the flexor retinaculum and the inferior extensor retinaculum, the paratenon, and the spring ligament. Side difference was noticed in connections to the flexor fibrous sheath, the deltoid ligament, the fascia on the abductor hallucis, and the paratenon (p < 0.05). The flexor retinaculum formed a more complex anatomical unit with adjacent structures. Full article
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Article
Pressure Applied during Deep Friction Massage: Characterization and Relationship with Time of Onset of Analgesia
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2705; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10082705 - 14 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1266
Abstract
This study aims to determine if a dose–response relationship exists between the pressure applied during deep friction massage (DFM) and the time to the onset of analgesia in an asymptomatic patellar tendon. For this purpose, pressures applied by physiotherapists during DFM (study 1) [...] Read more.
This study aims to determine if a dose–response relationship exists between the pressure applied during deep friction massage (DFM) and the time to the onset of analgesia in an asymptomatic patellar tendon. For this purpose, pressures applied by physiotherapists during DFM (study 1) were characterized and then, based on these pressures, the effects of different DFM pressures on the time to the onset of analgesia were assessed (study 2). First, the mean pressure applied by 40 physiotherapists during a DFM session was assessed with a pressure sensor through an observational, cross-sectional and analytical study. Next, the effects of different pressure intensities (the median, the percentile 25 (P25), and the percentile 75 (P75) of the mean pressure obtained in study 1) were studied in a crossover trial enrolling 30 participants with an asymptomatic patellar tendon. A pressure sensor was used to register the pressures applied during DFM. Our main results indicated that the physiotherapists applied pressures with a wide variation ((mean pressure: 2.317 kg/cm2 (P25: 1.022 kg/cm2; P75: 4.161 kg/cm2)). It was also shown that higher pressures had shorter times to the onset of analgesia (pressure: 1 kg/m2, time to the onset of analgesia: 67.0 s (P25: 84.5 s; P75: 113.5 s); pressure: 2.3 kg/m2, time to the onset of analgesia: 59.0 s (P25: 73.5 s; P75: 87.3 s); pressure: 4.2 kg/m2, time to the onset of analgesia: 37.8 s (P25: 54.0 s; P75: 62.0 s)) (p ≤ 0.001). In conclusion, the mean DFM pressure obtained by the physiotherapists was 2.3 kg/cm2 (P25: 1.02 kg/cm2; P75: 4.16 kg/cm2). Higher pressures of DFM resulted in shorter times to the onset of analgesia. Full article
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Article
Effects of tDCS on Muscle Stiffness in Children with Cerebral Palsy Measured by Myotonometry: A Preliminary Study
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2616; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10072616 - 10 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the biceps brachii and flexor carpi radialis stiffness in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The authors also aimed to verify the relationship between spasticity [...] Read more.
Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the biceps brachii and flexor carpi radialis stiffness in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The authors also aimed to verify the relationship between spasticity and muscle stiffness. Methods: Twelve children with CP (mean ± SD; age, 8 ± 1.3 years; height, 118.7 ± 4.1 cm; weight, 23.0 ± 2.2 kg) were involved in the study. Muscle stiffness was estimated using a MyotonPRO device in a MultiScan pattern of five measurements. Simultaneously, the tDCS stimulation was performed. Spasticity was assessed by a neurologist using the Ashworth Scale. Results: Stiffness of the flexor carpi radialis muscle decreased significantly after tDCS therapy (p = 0.04). There was no significant change in stiffness of the biceps brachii. For all participants, the Spearman rank correlation showed statistically significant and positive relationships between muscle stiffness and the Ashworth Scale (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Transcranial direct current stimulation has a decreasing effect on stiffness and spasticity of the flexor carpi radialis in children with CP. The MyotonPRO device provides objective data and correlates with spasticity measurements. Full article
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Review

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Review
Injuries and Pain Associated with Goalkeeping in Football—Review of the Literature
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4669; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11104669 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Knowledge and research about football goalkeeper (GK) injuries are scarce, which prevents the development of evidence-based injury prevention programs. Fortunately, progress is evident in injury prevention strategies in outfield football players. However, a GK fulfills a unique role, and an injured GK can [...] Read more.
Knowledge and research about football goalkeeper (GK) injuries are scarce, which prevents the development of evidence-based injury prevention programs. Fortunately, progress is evident in injury prevention strategies in outfield football players. However, a GK fulfills a unique role, and an injured GK can substantially impact a team. Thus, there is a need to clarify and summarize current knowledge concerning football goalkeeper pain and injuries. This narrative review aims to present the best-evidence synthesis of knowledge about football GK injuries and pain, their type, location, and incidence. A secondary aim is to contrast these findings with outfield players and identify knowledge gaps. Scientific databases were searched for the following indexed terms: goalkeeper, injury, soccer, and football. Original papers, including case studies and systematic reviews published from August 1994 to March 2021, were screened for relevance using a priori criteria and reviewed. Commonly described injuries are fractures, luxation and dislocations in the fingers, hand and wrist. The quadriceps femoris and forearms muscles are the most frequently described muscle and tendon injuries. Further, football GK injuries differ in type, location, and incidence compared to outfield players. Whether GKs suffer fewer injuries than players in other positions, whether GK suffer more injuries in training than matches, and whether they sustain more upper limb injuries comparing to field players is still unclear and controversial. Few studies assess pain, and current data point to the development of hip and groin, thigh, knee, arm and forearm pain resulting from training and match play. Due to the crucial role of GK in the football team, it is recommended to use the injury burden as a parameter considering the number and time-loss of injuries in future studies. Full article
Review
Which Type of Exercise Is More Beneficial for Cognitive Function? A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Open-Skill Exercise versus Closed-Skill Exercise among Children, Adults, and Elderly Populations
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2737; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10082737 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
A large number of studies have described a positive relationship between physical exercise and cognition. Physical exercise can be divided into closed-skill exercise (CSE) and open-skill exercise (OSE) based on the predictability of the performance environment. It remains unknown whether either of these [...] Read more.
A large number of studies have described a positive relationship between physical exercise and cognition. Physical exercise can be divided into closed-skill exercise (CSE) and open-skill exercise (OSE) based on the predictability of the performance environment. It remains unknown whether either of these types of exercise is more beneficial for cognitive function. Therefore, the purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the effect of OSE versus CSE on cognition. Eligible studies included cross-sectional studies and intervention studies that had a clear definition of OSE and CSE, and these were used to compare the cognitive performance differences between the two classes of exercise. A total of 15 cross-sectional studies and 4 intervention studies were included in this meta-analysis. Among the cross-sectional studies, the overall effect size for OSE versus CSE was 0.304 (95% confidence interval (CI) (−0.097, 1.213); p < 0.05). Further subgroup analysis showed that the overall effect size for OSE versus CSE was 0.247 for inhibition and 0.360 for cognitive flexibility (both p < 0.05). In contrast, no significant differences between the two exercise modes were observed in the intervention studies. In particular, there were no significant differences in visuospatial attention or in processing speed between the two exercise modes. Taken together, these results suggest that OSE is superior to CSE, especially for executive function, according to the 15 cross-sectional studies examined. However, data from the intervention studies indicate that OSE is not superior. Therefore, additional well-designed, long-term intervention studies are needed to elucidate the potential efficacy of OSE in all populations. Full article
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