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Gait Posture. 2004 Aug;20(1):1-13.

Is rectus femoris really a part of quadriceps? Assessment of rectus femoris function during gait in able-bodied adults.

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Roessingh Research and Development, Enschede, The Netherlands.


There is conflicting evidence as to the precise activation pattern of the rectus femoris (RF) muscle during gait in able-bodied subjects. The aim of this study was to determine precise activation pattern of RF during gait in a healthy adult population. Surface and fine wire EMG from RF and vastus lateralis (VL) were recorded simultaneously at different walking speeds in five able-bodied subjects. The results of fine wire EMG showed that, at normal walking speed, RF was active only during the stance-to-swing transition. At faster speeds, increased levels of RF activity were seen during the same transition period. At the fastest speed, there was some activity during terminal stance, in addition to that at stance-to-swing transition, that could be attributed to rapid hip extension and thereby a rapid stretch of RF. However, the RF surface EMG signal was found to exhibit a bi-phasic pattern whilst walking at all different self-selected speeds. A burst of EMG activity recorded at initial contact on the surface signal but not on fine wire EMG, was due to cross-talk from vastus intermedius (VI). A close similarity was observed between the surface EMG patterns of VL and RF. VL surface and fine wire EMG profiles were identical for all the self-selected speeds with a main peak of activity beginning in terminal swing and ceasing in mid-stance. We conclude that RF is active only during stance-to-swing transition and the activity during swing-to-stance transition, as described in the literature, is very probably due to cross-talk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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