Objective. To evaluate the role of active and passive muscle forces in the failure mechanism of stimulated muscle. Design. An in vivo rabbit model. Background. Eccentric contractions can result in a greater incidence of muscle injury. However, the relative role of the active and passive muscle force in the failure mechanism of the activated muscle is not well elucidated. Methods. After anaesthesia, New Zealand white rabbits were fixed in a frame on a materials testing machine. The triceps surae muscle-tendon units were passively stretched to rupture with our without continuous nerve stimulation. The force and muscle length were simultaneously recorded. Active muscle force, passive muscle force, and ratio of the active to passive muscle were calculated and depicted against strain. Results. The results showed that the mean maximal passive force of triceps surae muscle was 293.1 N at a strain of 38%. The mean peak active muscle force was 21.5 N at a strain of 21%. The ratio of active to passive muscle force reached its peak first, followed by the active muscle force, and then the passive muscle force. The ratio of active to passive muscle force at the peak total force was only 3.3%. Conclusions. The stimulated muscle can exert its maximal response at extreme physiological extension. Injury of the stimulated muscle is caused mainly by passive muscle force.
ASJC Scopus subject areas