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Eur J Neurosci. 1994 Jul 1;6(7):1187-98.

X-ray study of the cat hindlimb during treadmill locomotion.

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Department of Physiology, Christian-Albrechts-Universit├Ąt, Kiel, Germany.


With pulsed X-ray cinematography we have analysed the angular excursions of the distal hindlimb joints (proximal interphalangeal, PIP; metatarsophalangeal, MTP; ankle) in cats walking on a treadmill. These distal joints transmit the body weight and the dynamic forces onto the ground. We have included the knee and hip joints in the analysis to relate the angular excursions of the proximal and distal joints and to verify the data previously obtained with external markers on the kinematics of the proximal joints. At the beginning of the stance phase the PIP joints flexed rapidly, the MTP joints extended slowly and the ankle and knee yielded under body weight. Whereas the PIP joints maintained a rather constant angular position of approximately 75 degrees throughout the stance phase, extension continued in the MTP joints from approximately 230 degrees at touch-down to approximately 270 degrees at the end of the stance phase. Around 50 ms before lift-off the MTP joints flexed rapidly. Early (approximately 30 ms) after lift-off this flexion changed into a slow extension. The PIP joints extended swiftly at the stance-swing transition and moderately at the end of the swing phase. During the middle part of the swing phase they flexed slowly. Small rotatory movements around the long axis of the foot took place in the last 100 ms of the swing phase. The results of this study on the distal joints are discussed in relation to the placing of the paw, to the translation of forward propulsion into a MTP movement and to the lifting of the paw (conventionally described as toe curling). They show a differentiated mechanical interaction between the different distal limb joints during these different phases, which must be known in detail to interpret the corresponding electromyographic data and to understand how the hip is moved forward over the MTP joints which serve as the final pivot during stance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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