Sensor anchoring improves the correlation between intramuscular pressure and muscle tension in a rabbit model

O'Connor SM, Kaufman KR, Ward SR, Lieber RL.
Ann Biomed Eng, 2021 49(2):912-921.


Intramuscular pressure (IMP) shows promise for estimating individual muscle tension in vivo. However, previous pressure measurements show high variability during isometric contraction and poor correlation with tension during dynamic contraction. We hypothesized that enhanced sensor anchoring/orientation would improve tension estimation and thus developed a novel pressure sensor with a barbed housing. Sensors were inserted into the tibialis anterior (TA) of New Zealand White rabbits (N = 8) both parallel and perpendicular to the fiber orientation. We measured muscle stress and IMP during both isometric and dynamic contractions. Passive stress showed good agreement for both insertion directions across muscle lengths (ICC > 0.8). Active stress and IMP agreement were good (ICC = 0.87 ± 0.04) for perpendicular insertions but poor (ICC = 0.21 ± 0.22) for parallel insertions across both dynamic contractions and isometric contractions within the muscle's range of motion. These findings support use of IMP measurements to estimate muscle tension across a range of contraction conditions.