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In vivo forces generated by finger flexor muscles do not depend on the rate of fingertip loading during an isometric task.

Kursa K; Diao E; Lattanza L; Rempel D
J Biomech 2005 Nov; 38(11):2288-2293
Risk factors for activity-related tendon disorders of the hand include applied force, duration, and rate of loading. Understanding the relationship between external loading conditions and internal tendon forces can elucidate their role in injury and rehabilitation. The goal of this investigation is to determine whether the rate of force applied at the fingertip affects in vivo forces in the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendon and the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) tendon during an isometric task. Tendon forces, recorded with buckle force transducers, and fingertip forces were simultaneously measured during open carpal tunnel surgery as subjects (N=15) increased their fingertip force from 0 to 15N in 1, 3, and 10s. The rates of 1.5, 5, and 15N/s did not significantly affect FDP or FDS tendon to fingertip force ratios. For the same applied fingertip force, the FDP tendon generated more force than the FDS. The mean FDP to fingertip ratio was 2.4+/-0.7 while the FDS to tip ratio averaged 1.5+/-1.0 (p<0.01). The fine motor control needed to generate isometric force ramps at these specific loading rates probably required similar high activation levels of multiple finger muscles in order to stabilize the finger and control joint torques at the force rates studied. Therefore, for this task, no additional increase in muscle force was observed at higher rates. These findings suggest that for high precision, isometric pinch maneuvers under static finger conditions, tendon forces are independent of loading rate.
In-vivo-studies; Muscles; Risk-factors; Hand-injuries; Injuries; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Humans; Author Keywords: Hand; Tendon; In vivo; Force; Rate
Department of Bioengineering, University of California-San Francisco, 1301 South 46th Street, Building 163, Richmond, CA 94804, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-003414; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008429
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities
Source Name
Journal of Biomechanics
Performing Organization
University of California, Richmond, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division