February 2020

Effect of muscle energy technique on increased calf muscle stiffness after eccentric exercise in athletes

Authors: Aleksandra Kisilewicz 1, Marcin Urbaniak 2, Adam Kawczyński 1


  1. Department of Sport Sciences, University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw, Poland
  2. Department of Physical Education, University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw, Poland

Journal: Journal of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences - March 2018, Volume 28, No. 81 (DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0012.7985)

Aim: The study aimed to assess changes in calf muscle stiffness after eccentric exercise (ECC), followed by the Muscle Energy Technique (MET). Our secondary objective was to evaluate the reliability of the novel MyotonPRO device for measurements of calf muscle stiffness in athletes.

Procedure: The study was conducted among 18 athletes from the University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw, practicing various sport disciplines. Stiffness measurements were obtained five times, bilaterally over the calf muscle: 1) test for the relative and absolute reliability, 2) re-test, 3) before the single bout of ECC, 4) after ECC but before MET, 5) after application of MET. The results were evaluated using the RM-ANOVA and Bonferroni post-hoc test. The P-value < 0.05 was considered significant.

Findings: Calf muscle measurements were obtained with the MyotonPRO device – reliable, hand-held and easy to use in field conditions. Myoton Technology provides an accurate and sensitive way for the objective and non-invasive digital palpation of soft tissues, which may find many applications in professional sports.

Results: The test-retest relative reliability was found to be almost perfect, with an ICC of 0.898 (95% Confidence Interval: form 0.851 to 0.930). The average SEM was 21.81 N/m and average MDC equated 60.42 N/m. There was a significant increase in right calf muscle stiffness after the single bout of eccentric exercise, compared to its baseline values (P < 0.001) and to the left leg (P = 0.002). There was a significant decrease in muscle stiffness after performing MET (P = 0,001). Initially and after MET, there were no differences between left and right legs (P = 0.06).

Our research showed that single application of the muscle energy technique restored a normal level of calf muscle stiffness increased after a single bout of eccentric exercise. However, this requires further investigation on a larger sample size and in relation to various sport disciplines, as an important issue in human biomechanics. Therefore, the MyotonPRO is an objective, reliable and easy to use in field conditions muscle stiffness measurement device, and may find many uses in professional sport.