Plantarflexor moment arms estimated from tendon excursion in vivo are not strongly correlated with geometric measurements

Josh R. Baxter, Stephen J. Piazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Geometric and tendon excursion methods have both been used extensively for estimating plantarflexor muscle moment arm in vivo. Geometric measures often utilize magnetic resonance imaging, which can be costly and impractical for many investigations. Estimating moment arm from tendon excursion measured with ultrasonography may provide a cost-effective alternative to geometric measures of moment arm, but how well such measures represent geometry-based moment arms remains in question. The purpose of this study was to determine whether moment arms from tendon excursion can serve as a surrogate for moment arms measured geometrically. Magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging were performed on 19 young male subjects to quantify plantarflexor moment arm based on geometric and tendon excursion paradigms, respectively. These measurements were weakly correlated that approached statistical significance (R 2 = 0.21, p = 0.052), and moment arm from tendon excursion under-approximated geometric moment arm by nearly 40% (p < 0.001). This weak correlation between methods is at odds with a prior report (N = 9) of a strong correlation (R 2 = 0.94) in a similar study. Therefore, we performed 92,378 regression analyses (19 choose 9) to determine if such a strong correlation existed in our study population. We found that certain sub-populations of the current study generated similarly strong coefficients of determination (R 2 = 0.92), but 84% of all analyses revealed no correlation (p > 0.05). Our results suggest that the moment arms from musculoskeletal geometry cannot be otherwise obtained by simply scaling moment arms estimated from tendon excursion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-205
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - Aug 22 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Plantarflexor moment arms estimated from tendon excursion in vivo are not strongly correlated with geometric measurements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this