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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Dec;30(12):1703-7.

Effect of lower extremity muscular fatigue on motor control performance.

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Hughston Clinic, P.C., Columbus and Atlanta, GA, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether lower extremity fatigue affects the ability of an individual to balance on an unstable platform.


Twenty healthy subjects (average age, 29 yr, range, 20 to 39 yr) were tested on an instrumented balance assessment system. Static tests were done on the limbs unilaterally and then bilaterally, and finally a dynamic test was performed in which the subject moved the platform in a circular manner to chase a moving object on a computer screen. After testing, subjects were fatigued using an isokinetic dynamometer, which imposes closed kinetic chain antagonistic exercise on the ankle, knee, and hip, similar to a stair stepper. No rest was allowed, and subjects were fatigued to less than 50% of their initial tested force. Subjects were then immediately retested on the unstable platform using the same testing protocol. All subjects completed the testing.


Analysis of pre- and post-fatigue balance results demonstrated significant decreases in motor control performance on the three static tests following exercise to fatigue in all subjects (P < 0.001).


Our findings support anecdotal evidence that fatigued individuals are at increased risk of injury because of loss of balance. Avoidance of fatigue and preconditioning may prevent injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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