Relationship between muscle stress and intramuscular pressure during dynamic muscle contractions

Samuel R. Ward, Jennifer Davis, Kenton R. Kaufman, Richard L. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Intramuscular pressure (IMP) has been used to estimate muscle stress indirectly. However, the ability of this technique to estimate muscle stress under dynamic conditions is poorly characterized. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which IMP is a valid surrogate for muscle stress during dynamic contractions. IMP and muscle stress were compared under steady-state isotonic conditions and during complex dynamic length changes. During concentric contractions the shape of the IMP-velocity curve mimicked the basic shape of the force-velocity curve but with much higher variability. For eccentric contractions, a precipitous drop in IMP was observed despite increased muscle stress. The dissociation between muscle stress and IMP during dynamic contractions was partially explained by sensor movement. When the muscle was not moving, IMP explained 89% ± 5% of the variance in muscle force. However, when transducer movement occurred the linear relationship between IMP and stress was no longer observed. These findings demonstrate the difficulty in interpreting IMP under dynamic conditions when sensor movement occurs. They also illustrate the need to control transducer movement if muscle stress is to be inferred from IMP measurements such as might be desired during clinical gait testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Fluid mechanics
  • Force-velocity relationship
  • Interstitial fluid pressure
  • Intramuscular pressure
  • Isotonic contraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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