Accurate measurement of muscle belly length in the motion analysis laboratory: potential for the assessment of contracture

N. R. Fry, C. R. Childs, L. C. Eve, M. Gough, R. O. Robinson, A. P. Shortland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Two-dimensional ultrasound imaging was combined with motion analysis technology to measure distances between remote anatomical landmarks. The length of the belly of the medial gastrocnemius muscle in five normal adults (nine limbs) was estimated using this technique. Our results in vivo were similar to the reported data for the lengths of muscles in cadavers, and were consistent with the expected relationship between muscle belly length and ankle joint angle. Experiments in vitro demonstrated that the accuracy of the device was better than 2 mm over 20 cm. Measurements on the same subject on different occasions showed that the results were repeatable in vivo. Rendering of the reconstructed volume of a foam phantom gave results comparable to photographic images. This validated technique could be used to measure muscle lengths in children with spastic cerebral palsy and indicate which muscles had fixed shortening, and to what extent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2003



  • ultrasound
  • muscle morphology
  • cerebral palsy
  • length of the belly
  • medial gastrocnemius muscle

Cite this