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Clin Neurophysiol. 2014 Oct;125(10):2024-35. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Neuromuscular constraints on muscle coordination during overground walking in persons with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury.

Author information

1
Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
2
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.
3
Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA. Electronic address: randy.trumbower@emory.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) disrupts motor control and limits the ability to coordinate muscles for overground walking. Inappropriate muscle activity has been proposed as a source of clinically observed walking deficits after iSCI. We hypothesized that persons with iSCI exhibit lower locomotor complexity compared to able-body (AB) controls as reflected by fewer motor modules, as well as, altered module composition and activation.

METHODS:

Eight persons with iSCI and eight age-matched AB controls walked overground at prescribed cadences. Electromyograms of fourteen single leg muscles were recorded. Non-negative matrix factorization was used to identify the composition and activation of motor modules, which represent groups of consistently co-activated muscles that accounted for 90% of variability in muscle activity.

RESULTS:

Motor module number, composition, and activation were significantly altered in persons with iSCI as compared to AB controls during overground walking at self-selected cadences. However, there was no significant difference in module number between persons with iSCI and AB controls when cadence and assistive device were matched.

CONCLUSIONS:

Muscle coordination during overground walking is impaired after chronic iSCI.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Our results are indicative of neuromuscular constraints on muscle coordination after iSCI. Altered muscle coordination contributes to person-specific gait deficits during overground walking.

KEYWORDS:

Modules; Motor control; Muscle coordination; Spinal cord injury; Walking

PMID:
24618214
PMCID:
PMC4133333
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2014.02.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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