A biomechanical analysis of the role of the crural fascia in the cat hindlimb
Stahl, Victoria Ann
MetadataShow full item record
The potential of the crural fascia to increase the articulation of the posterior thigh muscles through the in series connection of the structures, suggests that the crural fascia may influence the endpoint force direction of the muscles by partially redirecting the muscular force output. Furthermore, not only the in series connections should be considered but also how the parallel alignment of the crural fascia and the triceps surae may influence the force direction from the muscles. A redirection in force may, in turn, affect the intra-limb coordination or contribute to the selection of a task variable muscle activation pattern. The central objective was to evaluate the role of the synergistically located, posterior, distal musculature and connective tissue during locomotion. The central hypothesis was that the crural fascia would redirect the force output from the posterior thigh muscles to the endpoint and consequently increase propulsion within the limb. We selected to perform our studies in the spontaneously locomoting decerebrate cat, which allows us to investigate acute treatments applied to the hindlimb. The overall objective was accomplished by: (1) evaluating the role of the crural fascia during level walking; (2) determine the acute effect of denervating the triceps surae muscles and disrupting the crural fascia during level walking; and (3) evaluating the change in force direction output of selective stimulation of muscles in different limb configurations before and after complete fasciotomy. Our findings demonstrated that the crural fascia not only assists in propulsion but also acts to stabilize the distal limb. Furthermore, the acute denervation of the triceps surae resulted in a decrease in leg length and an increase in ankle yield during the weight acceptance phase of stance. This suggests that the conservation of the limb length as a task level variable is an adaptation rather than an immediate response.