alexa Maximum toe flexor muscle strength and quantitative analysis of human plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles by a magnetic resonance imaging technique


Clinical Research on Foot & Ankle

Author(s): Toshiyuki Kurihara, Junichiro Yamauchi, Mitsuo Otsuka, Nobuaki Tottori, Takeshi Hashimoto

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The aims of this study were to investigate the relationships between the maximum isometric toe flexor muscle strength (TFS) and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles and to identify the major determinant of maximum TFS among CSA of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles.


Twenty six young healthy participants (14 men, 12 women; age, 20.4 ± 1.6 years) volunteered for the study. TFS was measured by a specific designed dynamometer, and CSA of plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles were measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To measure TFS, seated participants optimally gripped the bar with their toes and exerted maximum force on the dynamometer. For each participant, the highest force produced among three trials was used for further analysis. To measure CSA, serial T1-weighted images were acquired.


TFS was significantly correlated with CSA of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles. Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses identified that the major determinant of TFS was CSA of medial parts of plantar intrinsic muscles (flexor hallucis brevis, flexor digitorum brevis, quadratus plantae, lumbricals and abductor hallucis). There was no significant difference between men and women in TFS/CSA.


CSA of the plantar intrinsic and extrinsic muscles is one of important factors for determining the maximum TFS in humans.

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This article was published in Journal of Foot and Ankle Research and referenced in Clinical Research on Foot & Ankle

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