Muscle activation patterns of selected lower extremity muscles during stepping and cutting tasks

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Lower extremity muscle activations during crossover and side step cut tasks are hypothesized to play an important role in controlling knee motion, and therefore, impact the design of knee injury prevention and rehabilitation programs. However, the contribution of lower extremity muscles to frontal and transverse plane moments during cutting tasks is unclear. The purpose of this study was to compare the muscle activation patterns of selected lower extremity muscles (vastus lateralis, medial/lateral hamstrings and medial/lateral gastrocnemius) of subjects performing a stepping down and side step cut, a stepping down and crossover cut and an equivalent straight ahead task. Ground reaction force was used to determine the cut angle, stance time and compare the lower limb loading during each task. Electromyography data during all tasks were normalized to the average activation during the straight ahead tasks to determine relative changes in muscle activation between the straight ahead and different cut styles (crossover and side step). There were no differences in the pattern of muscle activation of the vastus lateralis, or lateral hamstring muscles when comparing the cutting tasks to the equivalent straight ahead task. However, the crossover cut task resulted in significantly higher muscle activation of the medial hamstrings and lateral gastrocnemius muscles relative to both the side step cut and straight ahead tasks. These results suggest the medial/lateral hamstrings and medial/lateral gastrocnemius play a role in transverse and frontal plane control during cut tasks. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology

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