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Concept: Extension


Recent findings suggest that not only the lack of physical activity, but also prolonged times of sedentary behaviour where major locomotor muscles are inactive, significantly increase the risk of chronic diseases. The purpose of this study was to provide details of quadriceps and hamstring muscle inactivity and activity during normal daily life of ordinary people. Eighty-four volunteers (44 females, 40 males, 44.1±17.3 years, 172.3±6.1 cm, 70.1±10.2 kg) were measured during normal daily life using shorts measuring muscle electromyographic (EMG) activity (recording time 11.3±2.0 hours). EMG was normalized to isometric MVC (EMG(MVC)) during knee flexion and extension, and inactivity threshold of each muscle group was defined as 90% of EMG activity during standing (2.5±1.7% of EMG(MVC)). During normal daily life the average EMG amplitude was 4.0±2.6% and average activity burst amplitude was 5.8±3.4% of EMG(MVC) (mean duration of 1.4±1.4 s) which is below the EMG level required for walking (5 km/h corresponding to EMG level of about 10% of EMG(MVC)). Using the proposed individual inactivity threshold, thigh muscles were inactive 67.5±11.9% of the total recording time and the longest inactivity periods lasted for 13.9±7.3 min (2.5-38.3 min). Women had more activity bursts and spent more time at intensities above 40% EMG(MVC) than men (p<0.05). In conclusion, during normal daily life the locomotor muscles are inactive about 7.5 hours, and only a small fraction of muscle's maximal voluntary activation capacity is used averaging only 4% of the maximal recruitment of the thigh muscles. Some daily non-exercise activities such as stair climbing produce much higher muscle activity levels than brisk walking, and replacing sitting by standing can considerably increase cumulative daily muscle activity.

Concepts: Physical exercise, Arithmetic mean, Mode, Extension, Thigh, Knee, Muscle, Electromyography


Back extension exercises are often used in the rehabilitation of low back pain. However, at present it is not clear how the posterior muscles are recruited during different types of extension exercises. Therefore the present study will evaluate the myoelectric activity of thoracic, lumbar and hip extensor muscles during different extension exercises in healthy persons. Based on these physiological observations we will make recommendations regarding the use of extensions exercises in clinical practice.

Concepts: Flexion, Hip, Spinal disc herniation, Extension, Thigh


In total hip arthroplasty, determining the impingement free range of motion requirement is a complex task. This is because in the native hip, motion is restricted by both impingement as well as soft tissue restraint. The aim of this study is to determine a range of motion benchmark which can identify motions which are at risk from impingement and those which are constrained due to soft tissue. Two experimental methodologies were used to determine motions which were limited by impingement and those motions which were limited by both impingement and soft tissue restraint. By comparing these two experimental results, motions which were limited by impingement were able to be separated from those motions which were limited by soft tissue restraint. The results show motions in extension as well as flexion combined with adduction are limited by soft tissue restraint. Motions in flexion, flexion combined with abduction and adduction are at risk from osseous impingement. Consequently, these motions represent where the maximum likely damage will occur in femoroacetabular impingement or at most risk of prosthetic impingement in total hip arthroplasty.

Concepts: Abduction, Pelvis, Gracilis muscle, Adduction, Extension, Orthopedic surgery, Hip replacement, Hip


BACKGROUND: A common goal of persons post-stroke is to regain community ambulation. The plantar flexor muscles play an important role in propulsion generation and swing initiation as previous musculoskeletal simulations have shown. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that simulation results quantifying changes in plantar flexor activation and function in individuals post-stroke were consistent with (1) the purpose of an intervention designed to enhance plantar flexor function and (2) expected muscle function during gait based on previous literature. METHODS: Three-dimensional, forward dynamic simulations were created to determine the changes in model activation and function of the paretic ankle plantar flexor muscles for eight patients post-stroke after a 12-weeks FastFES gait retraining program. RESULTS: An median increase of 0.07 (Range [-0.01,0.22]) was seen in simulated activation averaged across all plantar flexors during the double support phase of gait from pre- to post-intervention. A concurrent increase in walking speed and plantar flexor induced forward center of mass acceleration by the plantar flexors was seen post-intervention for seven of the eight subject simulations. Additionally, post-training, the plantar flexors had an simulated increase in contribution to knee flexion acceleration during double support. CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, muscle-actuated musculoskeletal models were used to simulate the effect of a gait retraining intervention on post-stroke muscle model predicted activation and function. The simulations showed a new pattern of simulated activation for the plantar flexor muscles after training, suggesting that the subjects activated these muscles with more appropriate timing following the intervention. Functionally, simulations calculated that the plantar flexors provided greater contribution to knee flexion acceleration after training, which is important for increasing swing phase knee flexion and foot clearance.

Concepts: Popliteus muscle, Semimembranosus muscle, Musculoskeletal system, Semitendinosus muscle, Sartorius muscle, Extension, Flexion, Knee


It has been suggested that deep squats could cause an increased injury risk of the lumbar spine and the knee joints. Avoiding deep flexion has been recommended to minimize the magnitude of knee-joint forces. Unfortunately this suggestion has not taken the influence of the wrapping effect, functional adaptations and soft tissue contact between the back of thigh and calf into account. The aim of this literature review is to assess whether squats with less knee flexion (half/quarter squats) are safer on the musculoskeletal system than deep squats. A search of relevant scientific publications was conducted between March 2011 and January 2013 using PubMed. Over 164 articles were included in the review. There are no realistic estimations of knee-joint forces for knee-flexion angles beyond 50° in the deep squat. Based on biomechanical calculations and measurements of cadaver knee joints, the highest retropatellar compressive forces and stresses can be seen at 90°. With increasing flexion, the wrapping effect contributes to an enhanced load distribution and enhanced force transfer with lower retropatellar compressive forces. Additionally, with further flexion of the knee joint a cranial displacement of facet contact areas with continuous enlargement of the retropatellar articulating surface occurs. Both lead to lower retropatellar compressive stresses. Menisci and cartilage, ligaments and bones are susceptible to anabolic metabolic processes and functional structural adaptations in response to increased activity and mechanical influences. Concerns about degenerative changes of the tendofemoral complex and the apparent higher risk for chondromalacia, osteoarthritis, and osteochondritis in deep squats are unfounded. With the same load configuration as in the deep squat, half and quarter squat training with comparatively supra-maximal loads will favour degenerative changes in the knee joints and spinal joints in the long term. Provided that technique is learned accurately under expert supervision and with progressive training loads, the deep squat presents an effective training exercise for protection against injuries and strengthening of the lower extremity. Contrary to commonly voiced concern, deep squats do not contribute increased risk of injury to passive tissues.

Concepts: Semimembranosus muscle, Flexion, Extension, Cartilage, Osteoarthritis, Vertebral column, Joint, Knee


Why do some hamstring and quadriceps strains take much longer to repair than others? Which injuries are more prone to recurrence? Intramuscular tendon injuries have received little attention as an element in ‘muscle strain’. In thigh muscles, such as rectus femoris and biceps femoris, the attached tendon extends for a significant distance within the muscle belly. While the pathology of most muscle injures occurs at a musculotendinous junction, at first glance the athlete appears to report pain within a muscle belly. In addition to the musculotendinous injury being a site of pathology, the intramuscular tendon itself is occasionally injured. These injuries have a variety of appearances on MRIs. There is some evidence that these injuries require a prolonged rehabilitation time and may have higher recurrence rates. Therefore, it is important to recognise the tendon component of a thigh ‘muscle strain’.

Concepts: Flexion, Sprain, Injuries, Extension, Thigh muscles, Strain, Injury, Muscle


The squat is a closed-chain lower body exercise commonly performed by many athletes. Muscle activity has been examined during partial and parallel squats in male weightlifters, but not in male and female runners. Therefore, this study measured muscle activity with surface electromyography (EMG) during partial and parallel squats in 20 Division I collegiate cross-country runners (10 males and 10 females) in a randomized crossover design. We hypothesized the parallel squat would increase extensor muscle activitation (i.e., hamstrings and erector spinae). Furthermore, we sought to determine if changes in muscle activity were different between males and females. Participants performed 6 repetitions using their 10 repetition maximum loads for each condition during EMG testing. EMG was performed on the right rectus femoris, biceps femoris, lumbar erector spinae, and lateral head of the gastrocnemius. Rectus femoris activity (0.18±0.01 vs. 0.14±0.01 mV) and erector spinae activity (0.16±0.01 vs. 0.13±0.01 mV) were significantly higher (p<0.05) during the parallel squat than during the partial squat condition. This increase in muscle activity may be attributed to greater ranges of motion at the hip and knee joints. Biceps femoris and gastrocnemius activity were similar between conditions. No significant differences existed between males and females (squat condition x gender; p>0.05). During preliminary isokinetic testing, both male and female runners demonstrated deficient hamstrings-to-quadriceps ratios, which would not likely improve by performing parallel squats based on our EMG findings. Despite the reduced load of the parallel squat, rectus femoris and erector spinae activity were elevated. Thus, parallel squats may help runners to train muscles vital for uphill running and correct posture, while preventing injury by using lighter weights through a larger range of motion.

Concepts: Sex, Female, Male, Gender, Flexion, Extension, Knee, Electromyography


STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study, repeated measures design. OBJECTIVES: To compare hip abductor muscle activity during selected exercises using fine-wire electromyography (EMG), and determine which exercises are best for activating gluteus medius and the superior portion of gluteus maximus while minimizing activity of tensor fascia lata (TFL). BACKGROUND: Abnormal hip kinematics (i.e. excessive hip adduction and internal rotation) has been linked to certain musculoskeletal disorders. The TFL is a hip abductor but also internally rotates the hip. As such, it may be important to select exercises that activate the gluteal hip abductors while minimizing activation of TFL. METHODS: Twenty healthy persons participated. EMG signals were obtained from the gluteus medius, superior gluteus maximus, and TFL muscles using fine-wire electrodes as subjects performed 11 different exercises. Normalized EMG signal amplitude was compared among muscles for each exercise using multiple 1-way repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs). A descriptive gluteal-to-TFL muscle activation (GTA) index was used to identify preferred exercises for recruiting the gluteal muscles while minimizing TFL activity. RESULTS: Both gluteal muscles were significantly (P<.05) more active than TFL in unilateral and bilateral bridging, quadruped hip extension (knee flexed and extending), the clam, side-stepping, and squatting. The GTA index ranged from 18 to 115, and was highest for the clam (115), side-step (64), unilateral bridge (59), and both quadruped exercises (50). CONCLUSION: If the goal of rehabilitation is to preferentially activate the gluteal muscles while minimizing TFL activation, then the clam, side-step, unilateral bridge, and both quadruped hip extension exercises would appear to be most appropriate.J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, Epub 16 November 2012. doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.4116.

Concepts: Extension, Adduction, Hip, Muscle, Gluteus maximus muscle, Gluteal muscles, Gluteus medius muscle, Electromyography


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are a burdensome condition due to potential surgical requirements and increased risk of long term debilitation. Previous studies indicate that muscle forces play an important role in the development of ligamentous loading, yet these studies have typically used cadaveric models considering only the knee-spanning quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius muscle groups. Using a musculoskeletal modelling approach, we investigated how lower-limb muscles produce and oppose key tibiofemoral reaction forces and moments during the weight acceptance phase of unanticipated sidestep cutting. Muscles capable of opposing (or controlling the magnitude of) the anterior shear force and the external valgus moment at the knee are thought to be have the greatest potential for protecting the anterior cruciate ligament from injury. We found the best muscles for generating posterior shear to be the soleus, biceps femoris long head and medial hamstrings, providing up to 173N, 111N and 77N of force directly opposing the anterior shear force. The valgus moment was primarily opposed by the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and piriformis, with these muscles providing contributions of up to 32 Nm, 19 Nm and 21 Nm towards a knee varus moment, respectively. Our findings highlight key muscle targets for ACL preventative and rehabilitative interventions.

Concepts: Biceps brachii muscle, Extension, Energy, Cruciate ligament, Muscle, Force, Anterior cruciate ligament, Knee


Forelimb posture has been a controversial aspect of reconstructing locomotor behaviour in extinct quadrupedal tetrapods. This is partly owing to the qualitative and subjective nature of typical methods, which focus on bony articulations that are often ambiguous and unvalidated postural indicators. Here we outline a new, quantitatively based forelimb posture index that is applicable to a majority of extant tetrapods. By determining the degree of elbow joint adduction/abduction mobility in several tetrapods, the carpal flexor muscles were determined to also play a role as elbow adductors. Such adduction may play a major role during the stance phase in sprawling postures. This role is different from those of upright/sagittal and sloth-like creeping postures, which, respectively, depend more on elbow extensors and flexors. Our measurements of elbow muscle moment arms in 318 extant tetrapod skeletons (Lissamphibia, Synapsida and Reptilia: 33 major clades and 263 genera) revealed that sprawling, sagittal and creeping tetrapods, respectively, emphasize elbow adductor, extensor and flexor muscles. Furthermore, scansorial and non-scansorial taxa, respectively, emphasize flexors and extensors. Thus, forelimb postures of extinct tetrapods can be qualitatively classified based on our quantitative index. Using this method, we find that Triceratops (Ceratopsidae), Anhanguera (Pterosauria) and desmostylian mammals are categorized as upright/sagittally locomoting taxa.

Concepts: Qualitative research, Semitendinosus muscle, Reptile, Hip, Flexion, Tetrapod, Extension, Knee