Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 1, 2012
   Pages 23 — 34

Abstract — Changes in surface electromyography signals and kinetics associated with progression of fatigue at two speeds during wheelchair propulsion

Liping Qi, PhD;1–2 James Wakeling, PhD;3 Simon Grange, PhD, FRCS(Tr&Orth);2 Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD2*
1ASPIRE Centre for Disability Sciences, Institute of Orthopedics and Musculoskeletal Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom; 2Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; 3Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

Abstract — The purpose of this study was to determine whether muscle balance is influenced by fatigue in a recordable way, toward creating novel defensive activity strategies for manual wheelchair users (MWUs). Wheelchair propulsion to a point of mild fatigue, level 15 on the Rating of Perceived Exertion scale, was investigated at two different speeds. Surface electromyographic (EMG) activity of 7 muscles was recorded on 14 nondisabled participants. Kinetic variables were measured using a SmartWheel. No significant effect was found of percentage endurance time on kinetic variables for the two propulsion speeds. Fatigue-related changes in the EMG spectra were identified as an increase of EMG intensity and a decrease of mean power frequency as a function of percent endurance time for the tested muscles under both fast and slow speed conditions. The greater increases in activity for propulsive muscles compared with recovery muscles during fast speed wheelchair propulsion indicated muscle imbalance associated with fatiguing wheelchair propulsion. This study shows how kinetic and EMG information might be used as feedback to MWUs to ensure that they conduct activity in ways that do not precipitate injury.

Key words: biomechanical adaptation, mean power frequency, muscle coordination, muscle imbalance, muscle recruitment strategy, muscle synergy, principal component analysis, rehabilitation, shoulder, wavelet analysis.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 49, No. 1
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Qi L, Wakeling J, Grange S, Ferguson-Pell M. Changes in surface electromyography signals and kinetics associated with progression of fatigue at two speeds during wheelchair propulsion. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(1): 23–34.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2011.01.0009
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:26 PM

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