Aging and the effects of a half marathon on Achilles tendon force-elongation relationship.

Journal article


Ackermans, TMA, Epro, G, McCrum, C, Oberländer, KD, Suhr, F, Drost, MR, Meijer, K and Karamanidis, K (2016). Aging and the effects of a half marathon on Achilles tendon force-elongation relationship. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 116 (11-12), pp. 2281-2292.
AuthorsAckermans, TMA, Epro, G, McCrum, C, Oberländer, KD, Suhr, F, Drost, MR, Meijer, K and Karamanidis, K
Abstract

PURPOSE: We aimed to determine whether there are different changes in Achilles tendon (AT) mechanical properties in middle-aged, compared to younger runners that might indicate that tendon fatigue, induced by long-distance running, is age-dependent. METHODS: 27 middle-aged (50-67 years) and 22 younger (21-29 years) participants ran a 21 km route at their own pace (mean and SD: old: 3.1 ± 0.3 m s(-1); young: 3.6 ± 0.5 m s(-1)). We tested for changes in the AT force-elongation relationship using dynamometry and ultrasonography during isometric voluntary ankle plantarflexion ramp contractions, conducted 20-28 h pre-run, immediately pre-run, immediately post-run and 20-28 h post-run. Stride frequency and number were examined to estimate cyclic tensile loading characteristics of the tendon during running. RESULTS: Muscle strength decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in both groups immediately post-run (old: 17 %; young: 11 %) and recovered to baseline within 20-28 h post-run. AT stiffness did not change for the younger adults, whereas the middle-aged adults showed a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in AT stiffness (22 %). However, tendon stiffness recovered to baseline 20-28 h post-run. Middle-aged, compared to young adults, demonstrated significantly (P < 0.05) greater stride frequency and number, but no correlations with tendon fatigue changes were determined (R (2) ≤ 0.038). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the plasticity of the AT in response to short-term mechanical loading may be age dependent and that the AT length-tension properties of middle-aged runners may be more vulnerable to change following running compared to younger athletes. However, the observed AT changes in the middle-aged runners dissipated within 20-28 h post-run, suggesting that a tendon viscoelastic recovery mechanism may occur in vivo.

KeywordsAchilles Tendon; Humans; Aging; Physical Endurance; Running; Isometric Contraction; Stress, Mechanical; Tensile Strength; Models, Biological; Computer Simulation; Adult; Aged; Middle Aged; Male; Elastic Modulus; Young Adult; Age; Mechanical loading; Muscle contraction; Running; Tendon fatigue; Tendon stiffness; Achilles Tendon; Adult; Aged; Aging; Computer Simulation; Elastic Modulus; Humans; Isometric Contraction; Male; Middle Aged; Models, Biological; Physical Endurance; Running; Stress, Mechanical; Tensile Strength; Young Adult; 1106 Human Movement And Sports Science; Sport Sciences
Year2016
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Journal citation116 (11-12), pp. 2281-2292
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISSN1439-6327
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1007/s00421-016-3482-z
Publication dates
Print30 Sep 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2017
Accepted30 Sep 2016
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
Supplemental file
License
CC BY 4.0
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