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J Biomed Eng. 1990 Jan;12(1):75-8.

Phase-dependent responses in locomotor muscles of walking man.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.


Bilateral reflex responses in locomotor muscles were studied in normal human subjects walking on a treadmill. Reflex responses were elicited in response to a momentary resistance applied to one leg. The responses were recorded electromyographically from superficial muscles of both lower limbs: the vastus lateralis, gluteus medius and tibialis anterior. A four-channel storage oscilloscope displayed a quartet record which consisted of phases of the walking cycle and patterns of EMG activity. Resistance and response data were collected for comparison. The appearance of reflex responses was found to be conditioned. The following two observations provide the phase-dependent characteristics of those responses: muscles of the ipsilateral limb elicited responses throughout the walking cycle regardless of whether the muscles were active or silent and muscles of the contralateral limb produced responses that depended on the point at which resistance occurred during the walking cycle. Discussion follows concerning inhibition of the response that may be responsible for this phase-dependent phenomenon.

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