Identification of a threshold for skeletal muscle injury.


Journal Article

This study was designed to detect the first evidence of injury to muscle induced by passive stretching. Rabbit extensor digitorum longus and tibialis anterior skeletal muscles were subjected to passive stretching at set force levels of 20% or 30% of load to failure. Both tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus muscles that were stretched to 30% exhibited no difference in the three tensile parameters when compared with their contralateral control specimens. Maximum contractile force was decreased after stretching. Tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum muscles that were stretched to 20% of control failure force showed no decrement in the tensile parameters or maximum contractile force. Histology of the extensor digitorum longus muscles stretched to 30% of failure force showed small focal areas of muscle fiber rupture and hemorrhage near the distal myotendinous junction. Tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus muscle-tendon units stretched to 30% of failure force suffered functional injury as their contractile ability decreased after stretching. In contrast, muscle-tendon units stretched to 20% of failure force suffered no decrement in contractile ability; therefore, a threshold for passive muscle stretch injury has been found. Furthermore, changes in contractile properties and histologic assessment appear to be more sensitive predictors of injury than measurement of structural failure properties.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Noonan, TJ; Best, TM; Seaber, AV; Garrett, WE

Published Date

  • March 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 257 - 261

PubMed ID

  • 8198196

Pubmed Central ID

  • 8198196

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3365

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0363-5465

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/036354659402200217


  • eng