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2011 Publications

Electromyographic analysis of the triceps surae muscle complex during achilles tendon rehabilitation program Mullaney M, Tyler TF, McHugh M, Orishimo K, Kremenic I, Caggiano J, Ramsey A. - last modified 2013-07-29 09:57
Sports Health. 2011 Nov;3(6):543-6.



Specific guidelines for therapeutic exercises following an Achilles tendon repair are lacking.


A hierarchical progression of triceps surae exercises can be determined on the basis of electromyographic (EMG) activity.


Randomized laboratory trial.


Bipolar surface electrodes were applied over the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius as well as the soleus on 20 healthy lower extremities (10 participants, 27 ± 5 years old). Muscle activity was recorded during 8 therapeutic exercises commonly used following an Achilles repair. Maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVICs) were also performed on an isokinetic device. The effect of exercise on EMG activity (% MVIC) was assessed using repeated measures analysis of variance with Bonferroni corrections for planned pairwise comparisons.


Seated toe raises (11% MVIC) had the least amount of activity compared with all other exercises (P < 0.01), followed by single-leg balance on wobble board (25% MVIC), prone ankle pumps (38% MVIC), supine plantarflexion with red elastic resistance (45% MVIC), normal gait (47% MVIC), lateral step-ups (60% MVIC), single-leg heel raises (112% MVIC), and single-leg jumping (129% MVIC).


There is an increasing progression of EMG activity for exercises that target the triceps surae muscle complex during common exercises prescribed in an Achilles tendon rehabilitation program. Seated toe raises offer relatively low EMG activity and can be utilized as an early rehabilitative exercise. In contrast, the single-leg heel raise and single-leg jumping should be utilized only during later-stage rehabilitation.


EMG activity in the triceps surae is variable with common rehab exercises.