Muscle Activation Profile During Perturbed Walking is Modulated According to Body State

Uri Rosenblum, Itshak Melzer, Gabi Zeilig, Meir Plotnik

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


During an unexpected loss of balance, avoiding a fall requires people to readjust their footing rapidly and effectively. We investigated the activation patterns of the ankle and knee muscles, and muscle fiber type recruitment resulting from unannounced, medio-lateral (i.e., right/left) horizontal-surface walking perturbations in twenty healthy adults (27.00±2.79 years, 10 females). Surface electromyography (sEMG) total spectral power for specific frequency bands (40-60Hz, 60-150Hz, 150-250Hz, 250-400Hz and 400-1000Hz), from tibialis anterior (TA) and vastus lateralis (VL) muscles were analyzed. Compared to non-perturbed walking, we found a significant increase in the total spectral power of lower-extremity muscles during the first 3 seconds after perturbation. When two feet were on the ground in time of perturbation we found a different muscle fiber type recruitment pattern between VL and TA muscles. This was not significant for perturbations implemented when one foot was on the ground. Our findings suggest that muscle operating frequency is modulated in real time to fit body state and somatosensory input in the context of functional goal requirements such as a rapid change of footing in response to unexpected loss of balance in single and double-support phases of gait.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2021

Publication series

PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press


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