February 2013

Study confirms neuromotor alterations in runners with Achilles tendinopathy

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Emily Delzell

A recent study done at the University of Melbourne in Australia supports the theory that, in runners with Achilles tendinopathy (AT), altered neuromotor recruitment patterns of the triceps surae create differential intratendinous loads that lead to pathology.

The investigators suggest that addressing these deficits may result in clinically meaningful improvements in neuromotor control. However, their study also found that foot orthoses did not affect the altered patterns.

The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, involved 15 Achilles-injured male runners and 19 healthy male runners who ran trials in sandals alone and in sandals fitted with semirigid prefabricated orthoses. Investigators captured electromyographic (EMG) activity from the soleus and the lateral and medial gastrocnemius.

Compared with controls, AT runners demonstrated significantly earlier relative offset timing between the soleus and the lateral head of the gastrocnemius (an average of 18 ms). Orthoses had no immediate effect on offset timing. Researchers noted further study is needed to confirm these findings and investigate the long-term effect of orthoses on neuromotor control.


Wyndow N, Cowan SM, Wrigley V, Crossley KM. Triceps surae activation is altered in male runners with Achilles tendinopathy. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2013;23(1):166-172.

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