, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 2577-2587,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Mar 2010

Temporal Effects of Mechanical Loading on Deformation-Induced Damage in Skeletal Muscle Tissue


Mechanical loading of soft tissues covering bony prominences can cause skeletal muscle damage, ultimately resulting in a severe pressure ulcer termed deep tissue injury. Recently, by means of an experimental-numerical approach, it was shown that local tissue deformations cause tissue damage once a deformation threshold is exceeded. In the present study, the effects of load exposure time and intermittent load relief on the development of deformation-induced muscle damage were investigated. The data showed that a 2 h loading period caused more damage than 10 min loading. Intermittent load reliefs of 2 min during a 2 h loading period had minimal effect on the evolution of skeletal muscle damage. In addition, a local deformation threshold for damage was found, which was similar for each of the loading regimes applied in this study. For short loading periods, these results imply that local tissue deformations determine whether muscle damage will develop and the exposure time influences the amount of tissue damage. Temporary load reliefs were inefficient in reducing deformation-induced damage, but may still influence the development of ischemia-induced damage during longer loading periods.

Associate Editor Catherine Disselhorst-Klug oversaw the review of this article.