To better study the effects of limb lengthening on skeletal muscle, the authors developed a rat model that uses a miniature external skeletal fixator applied to the tibia of an adult Sprague-Dawley rat. The mounting and lengthening protocols follow the principles developed by Ilizarov. With the initial version of the fixator, the rats had progressive equinus contractures develop because the calf muscles resisted elongation. By incorporating a footplate in the distraction apparatus, tibial lengthening can be achieved without concomitant equinus.

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