Biceps femoris long-head architecture: A reliability and retrospective injury study

Timmins, Ryan G., Shield, Anthony J., Williams, Morgan D., Lorenzen, Christian, & Opar, David A. (2015) Biceps femoris long-head architecture: A reliability and retrospective injury study. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47(5), pp. 905-913.

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To determine i) the reliability of two-dimensional ultrasonography for the assessment of biceps femoris long head (BFlh) architectural characteristics; ii) if limbs with a history of strain injury in the BFlh display different architecture and eccentric strength compared to uninjured limbs.


This case-control study (control [n=20], injured group [n=16], males) assessed the BFlh architecture at rest and during graded isometric contractions using two-dimensional ultrasonography. The control group were assessed three times (>24hrs apart) to determine reliability. Previously injured individuals were evaluated once.


The assessment of BFlh architecture was highly reliable (intraclass correlations >0.90). Fascicle length (p<0.001; d range: 0.67 to 1.34) and fascicle length relative to muscle thickness (p<0.001; d range: 0.58 to 0.85) of the previously injured BFlh were significantly less than the contralateral uninjured BFlh at all intensities. Pennation angle of the previously injured BFlh was significantly greater (p<0.001; d range: 0.62 to 0.88) than the contralateral uninjured BFlh at all intensities. Eccentric strength in the previously injured limb was significantly lower than the contralateral limb (-15.4%; -52.5N; 95% CI=-28.45 to -76.23; p<0.001, d=0.56).


These data indicate that two-dimensional ultrasonography is reliable for assessing BFlh architecture at rest and during graded isometric contractions. Fascicle length, fascicle length relative to muscle thickness and pennation angle are significantly different in previously injured BFlh compared to an uninjured contralateral BFlh. Eccentric strength of the previously injured limb is also significantly lower than the uninjured contralateral limb. These findings have implications for rehabilitation and injury prevention practices which should consider altered architectural characteristics.

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13 citations in Scopus
15 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 76224
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Hamstring, fascicle length, strain injury, ultrasound
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000507
ISSN: 0195-9131
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 American College of Sports Medicine
Deposited On: 17 Sep 2014 22:49
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 15:29

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