Individual muscle thickness of the quadriceps and hamstrings and their relationship with knee extension and flexion strength

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heath Scott Partington (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Randy Schmitz

Abstract: Strength of the thigh muscles, namely the hamstrings and quadriceps, is a strong determinant of athletic performance and recovery from injury. Thigh strength can be directly assessed using dynamometry or clinical tasks such as jumps and hops, although in the case of injured individuals such approaches may not be safe. In these cases, it is inferred that the muscle size is indicative of muscle strength thus allowing muscle size to serve as an indirect measure of muscle strength. Typically indirect clinical measures may poorly differentiate muscle size. A more muscle-specific clinical measure can be made from measuring the thickness of the quadriceps and hamstrings using clinical ultrasound. Typically, the individual muscles of the quadriceps and hamstrings are grouped together to assess thickness and the correlation between these thicknesses and muscle strength is well understood. The relationship between individual muscle thicknesses and the strength of their muscle groups as a whole is not well understood. The aim of this study was to test whether or not knee extension and flexion strength are correlated to the thickness of individual muscles in the quadriceps or hamstrings, respectively. This would allow clinicians such as athletic trainers to quickly assess atrophy and therefore loss in strength in injured athletes. Results demonstrated that both medial and lateral quadriceps and hamstrings thicknesses were moderately correlated with knee extension and flexion strength measures, respectively. Further analyses showed that grouping multiple quadriceps or hamstrings in the correlation did not improve the relationship of strength to individual muscles. These results indicate that individual thigh muscle thicknesses correlated with knee strength similarly to one another. These results support prior research that has looked at each of these muscles as groups and carry implications about how clinicians can quickly measure muscle strength indirectly in populations where direct strength assessment is not possible.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Individual muscle thickness, Knee extension, Knee flexion, Lower extremity, Strength, Ultrasound
Thigh $x Muscles $x Examination
Leg $x Muscles $x Examination
Muscle strength $x Testing
Knee $x Examination

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