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Abstract #4022

Phase-contrast MR imaging reveals age-associated differences in plantarflexor fascicle and aponeurosis behavior in isometric contractions

Robert Csapo 1 , Vadim Malis 2 , John Hodgson 1 , and Shantanu Sinha 1

1 Radiology, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA, United States, 2 Physics, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, United States

Plantarflexor musculo-tendinous tissue dynamics was compared by velocity-encoded phase contrast MRI in young (YW) and senior (SW) women cohorts. Submaximal, isometric contraction was associated with gastrocnemius medialis fascicle shortening and increases in pennation angles, with the effects being significantly larger in SW, in spite of greater Achilles tendon elasticity measured. Strains along superficial and deep aponeurosis were not significantly different between groups but displayed substantial, regional heterogeneity. These findings argue against a serial alignment of contractile and connective tissues and suggest that factors other than tendon compliance influence the age-dependent MSK dynamics resulting in large decrease of force in seniors.

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