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Research project: Novel technology for assessing muscle tone and mechanical properties: MyotonPRO

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A series of studies aim to establish a new device (MyotonPRO) for measuring muscle tone and mechanical properties as a routine valid and reliable clinical assessment tool.

for measuring mechanical properties of muscle
The MyotonPRO device

Accurate and reliable objective clinical measurement is key to advancing rehabilitation. We are developing applications of a new technology that offers a non-invasive and painless measure of the health of muscles.

A hand-held device, the MyotonPRO, is placed on the skin over the muscle (see picture). A brief, gentle tap from the probe causes the muscle to oscillate. The oscillations are analysed automatically by the device to calculate the muscle’s mechanical characteristics, such as its tone, stiffness and how elastic it is.
The main potential uses of Myoton technology are to detect early signs of stiffness to aid prevention of muscle injuries in sport, and to aid assessment of muscle in musculoskeletal and neurological disorders, and monitor effects of treatment.

Our initial research aims to prevent muscle injuries by using the technology to detect abnormalities that indicate risk of injury before symptoms occur. Where injuries have occurred, the technology would guide treatment and monitor recovery to inform the clinician and patient when it is safe to return to full activity.

A series of projects is under way, involving: studies of reliability and validity; basic science studies to increase understanding of the physiological relevance of muscle characteristics tested by the device; producing databases of values for different muscles in various healthy and patient populations; and clinical studies to provide evidence that Myoton technology can improve clinical practice.
The ultimate aim is to implement Myoton devices as part of the physiotherapist’s and physician’s routine assessment kit for rapid, objective, non-invasive muscle testing for injury prevention.

We are exploring the potential of the technology for assessing muscles in neurological and respiratory conditions, along with colleagues in the relevant research areas.

For neurological conditions, such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease, Myoton technology offers a potentially powerful tool for measuring muscle tone and stiffness, which could be used to assess the effects of drugs and physiotherapy to reduce muscle tone and rigidity.

An exciting project, which began in 2018, is exploring the use of Myoton technology to monitor the effects of prolonged periods of weightlessness on the muscles of astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). We test the astronauts before they go to space and teach them how to test each other while they are on the ISS.


Muscle tone in space

Myoton in the University of Southampton news

Myoton website

UK Space Agency

Associated research themes

Active Living Theme

Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Research Versus Arthritis 

Musculoskeletal research within Rehabilitation and Health Technologies Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton

Southampton Musculoskeletal Research Unit

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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