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Surface EMG patterns for quantification of thigh muscle co-contraction in school-age children: Normative data during walking

By Francesco Di Nardo, Annachiara Strazza, Alessandro Mengarelli, Serena Ercolani, Nicole Morgoni, Laura Burattini, Valentina Agostini, Marco Knaflitz and Sandro Fioretti


AbstractMuscle co-contractions are particularly relevant in analyzing children pathologies. To interpret surface electromyography (sEMG) in pathological conditions, reliable normative data in non-pathological children are required for direct comparison. Aim of the study was the quantification of co-contraction activity between quadriceps femoris (QF) and hamstring muscles during walking in healthy children. To this aim, Statistical gait analysis was performed on sEMG signals from rectus femoris (RF), vastus medialis (VM), and lateral hamstrings (LH), in 16401 strides walked by 100 healthy school-age children. Co-contractions were assessed as overlapping period between activation intervals of considered muscles. Results showed full superimpositions of LH with both RF and VL activity from terminal swing, 80–100% of gait cycle, to successive loading response (0–15% of gait cycle), in around 90% of strides, as reported in adults. This indicates that children regularly use a cocontraction activity between QF and hamstring muscles in weight acceptance during walking, supporting the hypothesis of a regulatory role of co-contraction in providing knee joint stability. Concomitant activity of QF and hamstring muscles was detected also during push-off phase (30–50% of gait cycle), showing a large variability intra and inter subjects and a lower occurrence frequency (around 25% of strides). This could be intended for controlling rapid knee flexion and/or stabilizing pelvis during body progression. Present findings represent the first attempt to provide normative sEMG dataset on variability of QF and hamstring muscles co-contractions during child walking, useful for discriminating physiological and pathological behavior and for designing future studies on maturation of gait

Topics: Children locomotion, Co-contractions, Quadriceps femoris, Surface electromyography
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.12.025
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