Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology vol:10 issue:1 pages:47-58
This study addresses the question whether unintended response of the knee flexors (hamstrings) accompanies transcutaneous functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the quadriceps and whether the knee torque is hereby affected. Transcutaneous FES of the right quadriceps of two paraplegic subjects was applied and measurements were made of the net torque and of the myoelectric activities of the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles of the right leg. A low correlation was obtained between the peak-to-peak amplitudes of the M-waves of the two muscles. This correlation decreased further with the development of fatigue, which indicated that the electromyography (EMG) signals from the hamstrings were not the result of cross-talk between adjacent recording sites. The force profile of each muscle was determined from a developed model incorporating EMG-based activation, muscle anthropometry as obtained from in vivo magnetic resonance imaging of the thigh, and metabolic fatigue function, based on data acquired by 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the muscle specific tension and the muscle moment arms have a major influence on the resulting muscle forces and should therefore be accurately provided. The results show that during the unfatigued phase of contraction the estimated maximal force in the hamstrings was lower than 20% of that in the quadriceps and could be considered to be practically negligible. As fatigue progressed the hamstrings-to-quadriceps force ratio increased, reaching up to 45%, and the effect of co-activation on the torque partition between the two muscles was no longer negligible.