Effects of Age on Knee Activation Characteristics during Weight Bearing and Directional Loading

Title: Effects of Age on Knee Activation Characteristics during Weight Bearing and Directional Loading
Authors: Smith, Andrew J.J.
Date: 2012
Abstract: We developed a novel approach that requires subjects to produce and finely tune ground reaction forces (GRFs) while standing. Using this method we were able to identify specific contributions of individual muscles and how these contributions change with the effects of age. One of the aims of this investigation was to determine whether electromyographic data in our findings was due to random muscle activation or representative of a neuromuscular control strategy. Ten healthy young adults (5 male, 5 female) with their dominant foot fixed within a boot mounted to a force platform participated twice in a target matching protocol, requiring subjects to control both the direction and magnitude of GRF along the horizontal plane while maintaining constant inferior-superior loads of 50% body-weight. Subjects were asked to manoeuvre a cursor with their dominant leg to match a series of targets projected on a screen. Targets appeared at random one at-a-time, separated by 30o around a circular trajectory. Subjects applied loads to the force platform in various horizontal directions to move the cursor while also controlling body weight. A successful target match required subjects to maintain 50% body weight and 30% of their peak horizontal load for one second. Electromyography (EMG) of eight muscles that cross the knee joint, ground reaction forces, and kinematic data were recorded for each successful match. EMG was normalized to percent maximum voluntary isometric contractions collected on an isokinetic dynamometer. Each target matching session was separated by two-three days. A random model, single measures intra-class correlation analysed the reliability for both test-retest and intra-day results, in addition to intersubject reliability. We observed moderate to high ICC values (0.60 – 0.993) for most muscles in most directions, indicating low within-subject variance. In addition, moderate to high between-subject reliability was observed in all eight muscle activation profiles, indicating subjects used similar neuromuscular control strategies to achieve the desired GRFs. Our findings support that groups who have undergone the same number of testing sessions can be compared, and that a single testing session is all that is required to compare neuromuscular control strategies used by a group to achieve target locations. The second aim of this investigation was to evaluate age related differences in neuromuscular control about the knee joint using our target match protocol. Thirty-three healthy adults (17 younger 24 years ±2, 16 older 59 years ±5), completed the same protocol evaluated above. The mean magnitude of muscle activity, specificity index, and mean direction of muscle activity were calculated in each target direction. Older adults presented with significantly lower strength in knee flexion and extension, hip abduction, and ankle plantar flexion. Significantly (p<0.25) higher mean activation magnitudes in the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, medial gastrocnemius, and tensor facia lata were also observed. Intraclass correlations (ICC) magnitudes indicate the percentage of global variance that can be explained by within subject and between trial variability. Muscle activation patterns were found to be similar in all muscles (ICC≤0.82). Similar patterns are supported by non-significant differences in mean direction of activation and muscle activation specificity. These results indicated that healthy older adults utilise different activation magnitudes for stabilising the knee while maintain similar muscle activation synergies in all muscles to younger adults.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/22718
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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