Enhanced precision of ankle torque measure with an open-unit dynamometer mounted with a 3D force-torque sensor
The use of biomechanical methods to quantify functional/physiological parameters in malnourished humans can provide new insights into the understanding of effects of malnutrition on human muscles. Therefore, a transportable ankle ergometer device was developed, which allows the quantification of mechanical properties of the human plantarflexor muscles in field experiments. More precisely, the ergometer quantifies isometric force in static conditions and musculotendinous stiffness in dynamic conditions. This latter parameter is obtained by the quick-release technique. The aim of the study was first to conduct a reproducibility study on musculotendinous stiffness. Seven healthy subjects were tested three times in alternate days. The results showed the well-known linear relationship between musculotendinous stiffness and torque, where the slope was used as a stiffness index (SI(MT)). Individual regression line comparison indicated that SI(MT) values were not significantly different between the three repeated measurements (P>0.05). Mean coefficient of variation was 4.5+/-1.0%. The individual SI(MT) data were within the range of those reported in the literature. The reproducibility study showed that the quantification of musculotendinous stiffness by means of the quick-release technique is a reliable method, using a transportable ankle ergometer device.