Viscoelastic creep in the human skeletal muscle-tendon unit

Eric D. Ryan, Trent J. Herda, Pablo B. Costa, Ashley A. Walter, Katherine M. Hoge, Jeffery R. Stout, Joel T. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The purposes of the present study were to (1) characterize viscoelastic creep in vivo in the human skeletal muscle-tendon unit and (2) to examine the consistency of these responses during a single 30-s stretch. Twelve volunteers (mean ± SD = 22 ± 3 years; height = 169 ± 11 cm; mass = 70 ± 17 kg) participated in two separate experimental trials. Each trial consisted of a 30-s constant-torque stretch of the plantar flexor muscles. Position (°) values were quantified at every 5-s period (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 s) and the percent change in position was quantified for each 5-s epoch (0-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, 20-25, and 25-30 s) relative to the total increase in the range of motion. In addition, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and standard errors of the measurement (SEM) were calculated for test-retest reliability. These results indicated that position increased over the entire 30-s stretch (P < 0.05), while the majority of the increases in position (73-85%) occurred during the first 15-20 s. ICC values were >0.994 and SEM values (expressed as percentage of the mean) were <1.54%. In conclusion, these results demonstrate viscoelastic creep in vivo in the human skeletal muscle-tendon unit and suggest that these responses may be reliable for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Constant torque
  • EMG
  • Reliability
  • Stretching
  • Tissue properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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