Golgi Tendon Organs

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Golgi tendon organs are proprioceptive sensory receptors occurring in tendons close (just proximal) to the muscle attachments (musculotendinous junction) that are involved in reflexes that help to maintain posture.

A small bundle of 5 to 25 muscle tendon fibers pass through these organs and it is believed that the golgi tendon discharges during extreme tension on a muscles to inhibit contraction both in the muscle contracted and the entire functional muscle group in question.

diagram model of golgi tendon organ of muscle

While the muscle spindles monitor the length of a muscle, the golgi tendon organ is sensitive to tension in the muscle, acting much like a strain gauge. The neuromuscular spindles are always active and simply increase their output as a muscle is stretched, but the golgi tendon orgain is passive until a muscle is quickly and extremely shortened (contracted). They may provide a protective mechanism against muscle or joint damage due to extreme contraction, by inhibiting the contraction of the muscles. The sensitivity of the golgi tendon is so great that it can detect a change in tension of only a single muscle fiber. See also autogenic inhibition. It is thought that strength training, over time, decreases the influence of the golgi tendon organs, thus disinhibiting the muscles and allowing a stronger contraction, which may be over of many mechanisms of strength gains.

This page created 17 Sep 2011 21:56
Last updated 02 Mar 2016 20:21

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