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Muscle Architecture of the Human Lower Limb

Wickiewicz, Thomas, L.*; Roy, Roland, R.**; Powell, Perry, L.**; Edgerton, V., Reggie**

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: October 1983 - Volume 179 - Issue - p 275–283

The architectural features of the major knee extensors and flexors and ankle plantar flexors and dorsiflexors were determined in three human cadavers. There was marked uniformity of fiber length throughout a given muscle and a trend toward similar fiber lengths within muscles of a synergistic group. Muscle length/fiber length ratios were remarkably similar for all three limbs. Angles of fiber pinnation were relatively small (0°-15°) and generally consistent throughout the muscle. From these architectural data, the performance of a muscle was studied with respect to its tension production and velocity of shortening potentials. The tension is a function of the number of sarcomeres in parallel, and the velocity of shortening is a function of the number of sarcomeres in series. Muscles were grouped according to whether they showed a predilection for tension or velocity of shortening.

* The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York.

** Department of Kinesiology and Brain Research Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, California.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.