Effects of ageing on mechanical properties of the rectus femoris in adult males

Agyapong-Badu, Sandra, Warner, Martin, Samuel, D. and Stokes, M. (2012) Effects of ageing on mechanical properties of the rectus femoris in adult males Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 20, (S1), supplement Abstracts for the 8th World Congress on Aging and Physical Activity: A Celebration of Diversity and Inclusion in Active Ageing, S233-S234.


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Introduction: Myotonometry offers an objective, portable, non-invasive way of testing viscoelastic properties (VP), such as tone and stiffness, of skeletal muscles. The present
study examined the differences between VP of healthy young and older males.

Methods: Forty-two healthy men were studied; 21 young and 21 older, mean and standard deviation (SD) for age and body mass index were 25.9 (4.4) years, 23.9 (2.5) kg/m2 and 72.1 (4.9) years, 25.2 (3.4) kg/m2 respectively. Participants were tested in supine lying with the leg extended and the muscle in a relaxed state. Viscoelastic properties of rectus femoris (RF)including decrement (elasticity), frequency (tone) and stiffness were measured using the MyotonPro (Muometria AS, Estonia). Damped oscillations of the muscle were recorded in response to a brief (15 milliseconds) mechanical tap applied by the probe with the device held perpendicular to the muscle surface. Two sets of 10 taps were taken and mean of the two used for analysis (t-tests).

Results: The means and standard deviations for young and older males were: decrement 1.4 (0.2) and 1.8 (0.3), frequency 16.1(1.1) and 16.3 (1.7) Hz, stiffness 288 (22.5) and 322.2 (27.9) N/m respectively. Differences for decrement and stiffness between the groups were statistically significant (p < 0.001) for both.

Conclusions: The MyotonPro enables rapid, objective assessment of viscoelastic properties, suitable for clinical/community settings. Age-related differences between the groups were greater decrement (lower elasticity) and stiffness of RF with ageing. The quadriceps muscles are important for mobility and the MyotonPro is potentially useful as a simple non-invasive device to detect decline in muscle characteristics with ageing and monitor effects of exercise interventions. Further studies of healthy females, other age ranges, and people with different levels of habitual activity are needed to provide reference data for assessing patients.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1063-8652 (print)
Keywords: myotonpro, viscoelastic, skeletal, muscles, mobility
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 344386
Date :
Date Event
August 2012Published
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2012 13:41
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:28
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/344386

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