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Phys. Ther. Korea 2022; 29(1): 48-53

Published online February 20, 2022

https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

© Korean Research Society of Physical Therapy

Focal Muscle Vibration Changes the Architecture of the Medial Gastrocnemius Muscle in Persons With Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion

Il-Young Moon1,2 , PT, MSc, Jin-Seok Lim1 , PT, MSc, Il-Woo Park1 , PT, MSc, Chung-Hwi Yi3 , PT, PhD

1Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, 3Department of Physical Therapy, College of Software and Digital Healthcare Convergence, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea

Correspondence to: Chung-Hwi Yi
E-mail: pteagle@yonsei.ac.kr
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2554-8083

Received: December 31, 2021; Revised: January 18, 2022; Accepted: January 19, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: The gastrocnemius tightness can easily occur. Gastrocnemius tightness results in gait disturbance. Thus, various interventions have been used to release a tight gastrocnemius muscle and improve gait performance. Moreover, focal muscle vibration (FMV) has recently been extensively researched in terms of tight muscle release and muscle performance. However, no study has investigated the effects of FMV application on medial gastrocnemius architectural changes.
Objects: In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of FMV on medial gastrocnemius architecture in persons with limited ankle dorsiflexion.
Methods: Thirty one persons with < 10° of passive ankle dorsiflexion participated in this study. We excluded persons with acute ankle injury within six months prior to study onset, a history of ankle fracture, leg length discrepancy greater than 2 cm, no history of neurological dysfunction, or trauma affecting the lower limb. The specifications of the FMV motor were as follows: a fixed frequency (fast wave: 150 Hz) and low amplitude (0.3–0.5 mm peak to peak) of vibration; the motor was used to release the medial gastrocnemius for 15 minutes. Each participant completed three trials for 10 days; a 30-second rest period was provided between each trial. Medial gastrocnemius architectural parameters [muscle thickness (MT), fiber bundle length (FBL), and pennation angle (PA)] were measured via ultrasonography.
Results: MT significantly decreased after FMV application (p < 0.05). FBL significantly increased from its baseline value after FMV application (p < 0.05). PA significantly decreased from its baseline value after FMV application (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: FMV application may be advantageous in reducing medial gastrocnemius excitability following a decrease in the amount of contractile tissue. Furthermore, FMV application can be used as a stretching method to alter medial gastrocnemius architecture.

Keywords: Gastrocnemius, Muscle tonus, Ultrasonography, Vibration

Article

Original Article

Phys. Ther. Korea 2022; 29(1): 48-53

Published online February 20, 2022 https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

Copyright © Korean Research Society of Physical Therapy.

Focal Muscle Vibration Changes the Architecture of the Medial Gastrocnemius Muscle in Persons With Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion

Il-Young Moon1,2 , PT, MSc, Jin-Seok Lim1 , PT, MSc, Il-Woo Park1 , PT, MSc, Chung-Hwi Yi3 , PT, PhD

1Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, 3Department of Physical Therapy, College of Software and Digital Healthcare Convergence, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea

Correspondence to:Chung-Hwi Yi
E-mail: pteagle@yonsei.ac.kr
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2554-8083

Received: December 31, 2021; Revised: January 18, 2022; Accepted: January 19, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: The gastrocnemius tightness can easily occur. Gastrocnemius tightness results in gait disturbance. Thus, various interventions have been used to release a tight gastrocnemius muscle and improve gait performance. Moreover, focal muscle vibration (FMV) has recently been extensively researched in terms of tight muscle release and muscle performance. However, no study has investigated the effects of FMV application on medial gastrocnemius architectural changes.
Objects: In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of FMV on medial gastrocnemius architecture in persons with limited ankle dorsiflexion.
Methods: Thirty one persons with < 10° of passive ankle dorsiflexion participated in this study. We excluded persons with acute ankle injury within six months prior to study onset, a history of ankle fracture, leg length discrepancy greater than 2 cm, no history of neurological dysfunction, or trauma affecting the lower limb. The specifications of the FMV motor were as follows: a fixed frequency (fast wave: 150 Hz) and low amplitude (0.3–0.5 mm peak to peak) of vibration; the motor was used to release the medial gastrocnemius for 15 minutes. Each participant completed three trials for 10 days; a 30-second rest period was provided between each trial. Medial gastrocnemius architectural parameters [muscle thickness (MT), fiber bundle length (FBL), and pennation angle (PA)] were measured via ultrasonography.
Results: MT significantly decreased after FMV application (p < 0.05). FBL significantly increased from its baseline value after FMV application (p < 0.05). PA significantly decreased from its baseline value after FMV application (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: FMV application may be advantageous in reducing medial gastrocnemius excitability following a decrease in the amount of contractile tissue. Furthermore, FMV application can be used as a stretching method to alter medial gastrocnemius architecture.

Keywords: Gastrocnemius, Muscle tonus, Ultrasonography, Vibration

Fig 1.

Figure 1.Specification of the focal muscle vibration motor with a fixed high frequency (fast wave: 150 Hz) and low amplitude (0.3–0.5 mm peak to peak).
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 48-53https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

Fig 2.

Figure 2.Focal muscle vibrator device placement on the medial gastrocnemius.
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 48-53https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

Fig 3.

Figure 3.Ultrasound probe positioning for the medial gastrocnemius.
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 48-53https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

Fig 4.

Figure 4.Ultrasonographic data for medial gastrocnemius architecture. Error bars indicate standard deviation. FMV, focal muscle vibration. *p < 0.05.
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 48-53https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

Fig 5.

Figure 5.Ultrasound image of the medial gastrocnemius.
Physical Therapy Korea 2022; 29: 48-53https://doi.org/10.12674/ptk.2022.29.1.48

Table 1 . Wilcoxon signed-rank test between before and after FMV application.

VariableBefore FMVAfter FMV
Muscle thickness (mm)24.38 ± 4.5022.90 ± 4.63*
Fiber bundle length (mm)81.73 ± 14.4588.66 ± 15.76*
Pennation angle (°)19.12 ± 3.3517.02 ± 3.76*

Values are presented as mean ± standard deviation. FMV, focal muscle vibration. *p < 0.05..