Coordination of foot muscles during walking
During walking, the human foot undergoes complex deformations due to both active muscles and passive tissues. Nevertheless, it is currently unknown whether muscles that contribute towards flexion/extension of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints are activated synchronously to regulate joint impedance, or sequentially to perform distinct biomechanical functions. The following study analysed the coordination of MTP flexors and extensors with respect to each other, and to other ankle-foot muscles.
Surface electromyographic (EMG) data of intrinsic and extrinsic foot muscles were collated from healthy individuals during treadmill walking. Peak MTP flexor activity occurred significantly earlier than peak MTP extensor activity. Sequential peak muscle activity from ankle plantarflexors, MTP flexors, MTP extensors, followed by ankle dorsiflexors best characterises the period around stance-to-swing transition.
These findings highlight that the biomechanical roles of the MTP flexors and extensors may be largely separable from one another, and from other extrinsic muscles during gait.
> From: Zelik et al., Eur J Appl Physiol (2014) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Springer Ltd.. Click here for the Pubmed summary.