The effect of eccentric and concentric calf muscle training on Achilles tendon stiffness

Morrissey, Dylan, Roskilly, Anna, Twycross-Lewis, Richard, Isinkaye, Tomide, Screen, Hazel, Woledge, Roger and Bader, Dan (2011) The effect of eccentric and concentric calf muscle training on Achilles tendon stiffness. Clinical Rehabilitation, 25, (3), 238-247. (doi:10.1177/0269215510382600). (PMID:20980351).


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Objective: To compare in vivo effects of eccentric and concentric calf muscle training on Achilles tendon stiffness, in subjects without tendinopathy.

Methods: Thirty-eight recreational athletes completed 6 weeks eccentric (6 males, 13 females, 21.6?±?2.2 years) or concentric training (8 males, 11 females, 21.1?±?2.0 years). Achilles tendon stiffness, tendon modulus and single-leg jump height were measured before and after intervention. Exercise adherence was recorded using a diary.

Results: All data are reported as mean?±?SD. Groups were matched for height and weight but the eccentric training group were more active at baseline (P?<?0.05). Tendon stiffness was higher in the eccentrically trained group at baseline compared to the concentrically trained group (20.9?±?7.3 N/mm v 13.38?±?4.66 N/mm; P?=?0.001) and decreased significantly after eccentric training (to 17.2 (?±?5.9) N/mm (P?=?0.035)). There was no stiffness change in the concentric group (P?=?0.405). Stiffness modulus showed similar changes to stiffness. An inverse correlation was found between initial, and subsequent, reduction in stiffness (r?=??0.66). Jump height did not change and no correlation between stiffness change and adherence was observed in either group (r?=?0.01).

Conclusions: Six weeks of eccentric training can alter Achilles tendon stiffness while a matched concentric programme shows no similar effects. Studies in patients with Achilles tendinopathy are warranted.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/0269215510382600
ISSNs: 0269-2155 (print)
1477-0873 (electronic)
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine
ePrint ID: 189397
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
March 2011Published
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2011 15:39
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:40

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