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June 2003

Reliability of a new, hand-held device for assessing skeletal muscle stiffness

M. Bizzini, A.F. Mannion
Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Schulthess Klinik Lengghalde 2, Zürich, Switzerland
Clinical Biomechanics - June 2003, Volume 18 (DOI: 10.1016/S0268-0033(03)00042-1)

Objective
The aim of the study was to examine the test–retest reliability of the Myoton-2 myometer for measuring skeletal muscle viscoelastic stiffness.

Methods
Ten healthy volunteers took part. On day 1, the viscoelastic stiffness of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, and gastrocnemius muscle (lateral and medial heads) was measured at rest using the Myoton-2 myometer. On day 2, the tests were repeated, and the rectus femoris was also examined during the maintenance of submaximal contractions of the quadriceps, and at a different resting muscle length.

Results
The myometer showed good to excellent test–retest reliability for all muscles (ICCs 0.80-0.93), except for the vastus lateralis (ICC 0.40). Viscoelastic stiffness showed a linear increase with increasing quadriceps’ force output, and was higher in stretched than in shortened resting muscle.

 

Conclusion
The Myoton-2 myometer is a reliable device for measuring the viscoelastic stiffness of resting muscle. Furthermore, viscoelastic stiffness showed the expected changes in response to increases in force output and muscle length, suggesting that the measurements were also valid.

Relevance
The results of this pilot study show that the Myoton-2 myometer is a simple, precise instrument for measuring muscle viscoelastic stiffness. If the findings can be confirmed in larger studies, further research should be carried out to examine its potential applications in the field of musculoskeletal medicine.

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