For athletes and weekend warriors alike, returning from a tendon injury too soon often ensures a trip right back to physical therapy. However, a new technology developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers could one day help tell whether your tendons are ready for action. A team of researchers has devised a new approach for noninvasively measuring tendon tension while a person is engaging in activities like walking or running. This advance could provide new insights into the motor control and mechanics of human movement. It also could apply to fields ranging from orthopedics, rehabilitation, ergonomics and sports. Muscles generate movement at joints by pulling on tendons, which are bands of tissue that connect muscles to the skeleton. But assessing the forces transmitted by tendons inside the body of a living person is tricky. The UW-Madison engineers’ device for measuring tendon tension is placed over a person’s Achilles tendon. This advance could provide new insights into the motor control and mechanics of human movement.
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