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J Biomech. 2004 Oct;37(10):1583-8.

Muscle activity in the leg is tuned in response to impact force characteristics.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4.


Based on results from quasi-static experiments, it has been suggested that the lower extremity muscle activity is adjusted in reaction to impact forces with the goal of minimizing soft-tissue vibrations. It is not known whether a similar muscle tuning occurs during dynamic activities. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of changes in the input signal on (a) vibrations of lower extremity soft-tissue packages and (b) EMG activity of related muscles during heel-toe running. Subjects performed heel-toe running in five different shoe conditions. Ground reaction forces were measured with a KISTLER force platform, soft-tissue vibrations were measured with tri-axial accelerometers and muscle activity was measured using surface EMG from the quadriceps, hamstrings, tibialis anterior and triceps surae groups from 10 subjects. By changing both the speed of running and the shoe midsole material the impact force characteristics were changed. There was no effect of changes in the input signal on the soft-tissue peak acceleration following impact. A significant correlation (R2=0.819) between the EMG pre-activation intensity and the impact loading rate changes was found for the quadriceps. In addition, the input frequency was shown to approach the vibration frequency of the quadriceps. This evidence supports the proposed paradigm that muscle activity is tuned to impact force characteristics to control the soft-tissue vibrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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