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Title: The proprioceptive and agonist roles of gastrocnemius, soleus and tibialis anterior muscles in maintaining human upright posture
Authors: Di Giulio, I
Maganaris, CN
Baltzopoulos, V
Loram, ID
Keywords: Posture;Calf muscles;Proprioceptive information;Ankle muscles
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: The Physiological Society
Citation: The Journal of Physiology, 587(10), 2399 - 2416, 2009
Abstract: Humans can stand using sensory information solely from the ankle muscles. Muscle length and tension in the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) are unlikely to signal postural sways on account of balance-related modulation in agonist activity. These facts pose two questions: (1) Which ankle muscles provide the proprioceptive information? (2) Which peripheral mechanism could modulate agonist activity? To address these issues, subjects were asked to stand normally on two force plates. Ultrasound and surface EMG were recorded from the calf and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles. For all nine subjects, changes in muscle length of TA were mainly (84 ± 9% whole trial duration) orthodoxly correlated with bodily sway (centre of gravity, CoG), i.e. in accordance with passive ankle rotation. When orthodox, TA had the highest correlation with CoG (−0.66 ± 0.07, deep compartment, P < 0.001). For five subjects, the superficial TA compartment showed counter-intuitive changes in muscle length with CoG, probably due to the flattening of the foot and proximal attachment geometry. Gastrocnemius and soleus were usually (duration 71 ± 23 and 81 ± 16%, respectively) active agonists (paradoxically correlated with CoG) but, for short periods of time, they could be orthodox and then presented a moderate correlation (0.38 ± 0.16 and 0.28 ± 0.09, respectively) with CoG. Considering the duration and extent to which muscle length is orthodox and correlated with CoG, TA may be a better source of proprioceptive information than the active agonists (soleus and gastrocnemius). Therefore, if a peripheral feedback mechanism modulates agonist activity then reciprocal inhibition acted by TA on the calf muscles is more likely to be effective than the autogenic pathway.
Description: This article is available open access through the publisher’s website at the link below. Copyright © 2009 The Authors.
ISSN: 0022-3751
Appears in Collections:Sport
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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