European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 10, pp 2047–2056 | Cite as

Early detection of exercise-induced muscle damage using elastography

  • Lilian Lacourpaille
  • Antoine Nordez
  • François Hug
  • Valentin Doguet
  • Ricardo Andrade
  • Gaël Guilhem
Original Article



This study aimed to determine whether an increase in muscle shear modulus measured 30 min after eccentric exercise (30 min) reflects the magnitude of force deficit measured 48-h post-exercise (48 H).


A total of 53 healthy participants were distributed in five groups. Four groups performed either repeated eccentric elbow flexions or knee extensions at either a low or high load. A fifth group performed repeated concentric elbow flexions (control load).


A significant decreased peak torque was found for elbow flexors and knee extensors 48 h after the eccentric exercises (all P values < 0.001). A significant increase in shear modulus was found at 30 min for the elbow flexors for low (+70.5 ± 44.3%, P < 0.001) and high load (+153.9 ± 192.4%, P < 0.001). Similarly, the shear modulus of knee extensors increased for low (+26.7 ± 19.1%, P < 0.001) and high load (+79.4 ± 67.1%, P < 0.001). The relative increase in shear modulus measured at 30 min was significantly correlated to the relative decrease in peak torque measured at 48 H for both elbow flexors (r = −0.80) and knee extensors (r = −0.82). A further analysis suggested that biceps brachii and rectus femoris were more affected by muscle damage than their synergists.


This study shows that an increase in muscle shear modulus measured 30 min after a damaging exercise reflects the decrease in peak torque measured at 48 H. Shear modulus may therefore, provide a useful tool for coaches and clinicians to non-invasively estimate the amount of muscle damage induced by a damaging exercise.


Force deficit Eccentric exercise Marker Shear modulus Muscle stiffness 



Analysis of variance




Biceps brachii


Maximal voluntary contraction


Rectus femoris


Supersonic shear imaging


Vastus lateralis


Vastus medialis



This study was supported by grants from the French Ministry of Sports (Contract No. 15i19) and the Région Pays de la Loire (QUETE Project No. 2015-09035).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, are declared by the authors. The results of the study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation. The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by the American College of Sports Medicine.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory “Movement, Interactions, Performance” (EA 4334), Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of NantesNantes Cedex 3France
  2. 2.Research Department, Laboratory “Sport, Expertise and Performance” (EA 7370)French Institute of Sport (INSEP)ParisFrance
  3. 3.NHMRC Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health, School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Institut Universitaire de FranceParisFrance

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