The classic view of skeletal muscle is that force is generated within its muscle fibers and then directly transmitted in-series, usually via tendon, onto the skeleton. In contrast, recent results suggest that muscles are mechanically connected to surrounding structures and cannot be considered as independent actuators. This article will review experiments on mechanical interactions between muscles mediated by such epimuscular myofascial force transmission in physiological and pathological muscle conditions. In a reduced preparation, involving supraphysiological muscle conditions, it is shown that connective tissues surrounding muscles are capable of transmitting substantial force. In more physiologically relevant conditions of intact muscles, however, it appears that the role of this myofascial pathway is small. In addition, it is hypothesized that connective tissues can serve as a safety net for traumatic events in muscle or tendon. Future studies are needed to investigate the importance of intermuscular force transmission during movement in health and disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis