Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 2, 2010
   Pages 117 — 132

Abstract — Reflex responses to combined hip and knee motion in human chronic spinal cord injury

Ming Wu, PhD;1* Brian D. Schmit, PhD2

1Sensory Motor Performance Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL; 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Abstract — The relative contributions of hip and knee proprioceptors to the origination of extensor spasms were examined in 11 subjects with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Ramp and hold extension and combined hip and knee oscillation movements were imposed to the right leg while the ankle was held in a static position by a custom-designed robot. Isometric joint torques of the hip, knee, and ankle and surface electromyograms (EMGs) from seven leg muscles were recorded following controlled hip and knee extension. A stereotypical torque response consisting of hip flexion, knee extension, and ankle plantar flexion was observed following hip and knee perturbations. Further, the hip or knee joint posture modulated the spastic reflexes triggered by the extension movement of the other joint, with larger responses observed with the hip and knee extended. In addition, combined hip and knee oscillation movements were imposed to one leg with four different phasing conditions. The phasing between the hip and knee modulated the reflex activity triggered by hip and knee oscillations. The EMG patterns of the spastic reflexes were generally consistent with muscle timing during locomotion in human SCI. This knowledge may help identify rehabilitation strategies that produce functional movements in human SCI.

Key words: EMG , extensor spasms, hip and knee extension, locomotion, reflex, rehabilitation, sartorius, sensory afferents, spasticity, spinal cord injury.

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