Muscle-tendon interactions

The objective of this research group is to improve our understanding of muscle-tendon adaptations and processes of non-traumatic injury. The main research areas include muscle-tendon interaction and function, muscle and connective tissue plasticity, and injury mechanisms in muscle and connective tissue.

Research statement

Many questions about the adaptations-injury continuum of musculo-tendinous tissues remain unanswered because of our limited comprehension of its essential features. Our knowledge of “normal” conditions of loading and adaptations is fragmented and sometimes inconsistent. We aim to fill some of these gaps with an integrative approach of the muscle-tendon unit.
 
Our research relies mainly on imaging techniques (B-mode ultrasonography, Shear-wave ultrasonography, MRI, CT-scanning) and biomechanical tools to study the neuromuscular function (dynamometry, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, electromyography). Kinematics analysis is also combined with some of these methods in projects where joint movement needs to be measured or controlled for.
 
This type of research benefits a broad range of society. Our findings contribute fundamental knowledge to athletic performance, injury prevention, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, neurological and musculoskeletal pathology, and aging. Additionally, we develop or improve methodologies to assess the properties and morphology of muscles and tendons. These methods can help researchers, as well as coaches and clinicians, to evaluate the effect of an intervention or a disorder.

 

Projects and collaboration

Recent projects have explored the functional significance of tendon stiffness and muscle architecture. Animal comparison studies have shown that muscle and tendon properties are highly specialized tissues. Muscle architecture and tendon stiffness seem optimized for the functions that they fulfill in daily activities. One of our research directions explores the transferability of these observations to the mechanisms driving tissue adaptations Werkhausen et al. (2019). Muscle architecture is a main outcome variable in these projects and has been the object of methodological development at our lab (Seynnes and Cronin 2020).

Recent collaborative projects were successfully completed in various areas and in particular about tendon clinical issues. Some of these projects have focused on the possibility to treat tendinopathy conservatively (non-invasively) with innovative methods (submitted work). Another collaboration focused on recovery from tendon rupture (Stäudle et al. 2021).

Our new/planned work will focus on the detection and prevention of non-traumatic injuries of muscular and connective tissue. This research will be based on the paradigm of damage accumulation. In a first step, we aim to explore variations in tissue mechanical properties in response to strenuous conditions.

Contact us

Olivier Seynnes

Olivier Seynnes

Professor

Phone: +47 23 26 23 08