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Motor Control. 2010 Jan;14(1):116-25.

Soleus h-reflex modulation during stance phase of walking with altered arm swing patterns.

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Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


The purpose of this study was to test the effect of arm swing on modulation of soleus H-reflexes amplitudes during walking. Fifteen subjects walked (1.07 m/s) on a treadmill in 4 arm swing conditions: 1-natural arm swing (control), 2-active restraint, 3-passive restraint, and 4-passive-assisted. Tibial nerve was electrically stimulated and soleus EMG was recorded. H-reflex amplitude was significantly greater during active than during passive restraint (p = .013). Remaining arm swing conditions were not significantly different. We detected a subtle effect of arm swing on soleus H-reflex amplitude. Descending regulation may serve as a gating mechanism to control the effect of arm movements on reflex pathways for leg muscles. This gating mechanism may be impaired postneural injury, potentially enhancing the modulation of peripheral sensory inputs on reflexes in leg muscles during walking. Future experiments to test additional conditions and evoking reflexes in more phases of walking are recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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