2017-12-01Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00987
Imbalances in the Development of Muscle and Tendon as Risk Factor for Tendinopathies in Youth Athletes: A Review of Current Evidence and Concepts of Prevention
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Tendons feature the crucial role to transmit the forces exerted by the muscles to the skeleton. Thus, an increase of the force generating capacity of a muscle needs to go in line with a corresponding modulation of the mechanical properties of the associated tendon to avoid potential harm to the integrity of the tendinous tissue. However, as summarized in the present narrative review, muscle and tendon differ with regard to both the time course of adaptation to mechanical loading as well as the responsiveness to certain types of mechanical stimulation. Plyometric loading, for example, seems to be a more potent stimulus for muscle compared to tendon adaptation. In growing athletes, the increased levels of circulating sex hormones might additionally augment an imbalanced development of muscle strength and tendon mechanical properties, which could potentially relate to the increasing incidence of tendon overload injuries that has been indicated for adolescence. In fact, increased tendon stress and strain due to a non-uniform musculotendinous development has been observed recently in adolescent volleyball athletes, a high-risk group for tendinopathy. These findings highlight the importance to deepen the current understanding of the interaction of loading and maturation and demonstrate the need for the development of preventive strategies. Therefore, this review concludes with an evidence-based concept for a specific loading program for increasing tendon stiffness, which could be implemented in the training regimen of young athletes at risk for tendinopathy. This program incorporates five sets of four contractions with an intensity of 85–90% of the isometric voluntary maximum and a movement/contraction duration that provides 3 s of high magnitude tendon strain.
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