Submaximal fatigue of the hamstrings impairs specific reflex components and knee stability.
ABSTRACT Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most serious sports-related injuries and requires long recovery time. The quadriceps and hamstring muscles are functionally important to control stability of the knee joint complex. Fatigue, however, is an important factor that may influence stabilizing control and thus cause ACL injuries. The objective of this study was therefore to assess how submaximal fatigue exercises of the hamstring muscles affect anterior tibial translation as a direct measure of knee joint stability. While 15 test participants were standing upright with the knees in 30 degrees of flexion, anterior tibial translation was induced by a force of 315 N. Two linear potentiometers placed on the tibial tuberosity and the patella recorded tibial motion relative to the femur. Reflex latencies and neuromuscular hamstring activity were determined using surface electromyography (EMG). Muscle fatigue produced a significant longer latency for the monosynaptic reflex latencies, whereas no differences in the latencies of the medium latency component were found. Fatigue significantly reduced EMG amplitudes of the short and medium latency components. These alterations were in line with significantly increased anterior tibial translation. Our results suggest that hamstring fatigue is effectively associated with mechanical loss of knee stability. This decrease in joint stability may at least in part explain higher risk of ACL injury, especially in fatigued muscles. Furthermore, we discuss why the present findings indicate that reduced motor activity rather than the extended latency of the first hamstring response is the reason for possible failure.
- SourceAvailable from: Erik A Wikstrom[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of an isokinetic fatigue protocol and a functional fatigue protocol on time to stabilization (TTS), ground reaction force (GRF), and joint kinematics during a jump landing. DESIGN AND SETTING: Subjects were assessed on 2 occasions for TTS, GRF, and joint kinematics immediately before and after completing a fatigue protocol. One week separated the 2 sessions, and the order of fatigue protocols was randomly assigned and counterbalanced. SUBJECTS: Twenty healthy male (n = 8, age = 21.8 +/- 1.4 years, height = 180.6 +/- 7.6 cm, and mass = 74.1 +/- 13.0 kg) and female (n = 12, age = 22.2 +/- 2.1 years, height = 169.3 +/- 9.8 cm, and mass = 62.5 +/- 10.1 kg) subjects volunteered to participate. MEASUREMENTS: Subjects performed 2-legged jumps equivalent to 50% of maximum jump height, followed by a single-leg landing onto the center of a forceplate 70 cm from the starting position. Peak vertical GRF and vertical, medial-lateral, and anterior-posterior TTS were obtained from forceplate recordings. Maximum ankle dorsiflexion, knee-flexion, and knee-valgum angles were determined using 3-dimensional motion analysis. RESULTS: A 2-way analysis of variance with repeated measures revealed no significant differences when comparing TTS, GRF, and joint kinematics after isokinetic and functional fatigue protocols. CONCLUSIONS: No difference was noted between isokinetic and functional fatigue protocols relative to dynamic stability when landing from a jump.Journal of athletic training 02/2004; 39(3):247-253. · 1.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Fatigue-induced changes in intrinsic and reflex properties of human elbow extensor muscles and the underlying mechanisms for fatigue compensation were investigated. The elbow joint was perturbed using small-amplitude and pseudorandom movement patterns while subjects maintained steady levels of mean joint extension torque. Intrinsic and reflex properties were identified simultaneously using a nonlinear delay differential equation model. Intrinsic joint properties were characterized by measures of joint stiffness, viscous damping, and limb inertia and reflex properties characterized by measures of dynamic and static reflex gains. Fatigue was induced using 15 min of intermittent voluntary isometric (submaximal) exercise, and a rest period of 10 min was taken to allow the fatigued muscles to recover from acute fatigue effects. Identical experimental and data analysis procedures were used before and after fatigue. Our findings were that after fatigue, joint stiffness was significantly reduced at higher torque levels, presumably reflecting the reduced force-generating capacity of fatigued muscles. Conversely, joint viscosity was increased after fatigue potentially because of the reduced crossbridge detachment rate and prolonged relaxation associated with intracellular acidosis accompanying fatigue. Static stretch reflex gain decreased significantly at higher torque levels after fatigue, indicating that the isometric fatiguing exercise might be associated with a preferential change in properties of spindle chain fibers and bag(2) fibers. For matched pre- and postfatigue torque levels, dynamic reflexes contributed relatively more torque after fatigue, displaying higher dynamic reflex gains and larger dynamic electromyographic responses elicited by the controlled small-amplitude position perturbations. These changes appear to counteract the fatigue-induced reductions in joint stiffness and static reflex gain. The compensatory responses could be partly due to the effects of increasing the number of active motoneurons innervating the fatiguing muscles. This shift in operating point gave rise to significant compensation for the loss of contractile force. The compensation could also be due to fusimotor adjustment, which could make the dynamic reflex gain much less sensitive to fatigue than intrinsic stiffness. In short, the reduced contribution from intrinsic stiffness to joint torque was compensated by increased contribution from dynamic stretch reflexes after fatigue.Journal of Neurophysiology 10/2001; 86(3):1086-94. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of anterior knee joint laxity on muscle activation patterns prior to and following a lower extremity perturbation. Participants were subjected to a forward and either internal (IR) or external (ER) rotation perturbation of the trunk and thigh on the weight-bearing shank. Pre-activity (%MVIC) before the perturbation, and reflex time (ms) and mean reflex amplitude (%MVIC) following the perturbation were recorded via surface electromyography (sEMG) in the medial and lateral gastrocnemius, hamstring and quadriceps muscles. Twenty-one NCAA DI intercollegiate female athletes with below average anterior knee laxity (3-5 mm) were compared to 21 with above average anterior knee laxity (7-14 mm) as measured by a standard knee arthrometer. Groups differed in reflex timing by muscle (P = 0.013), with females with above average knee laxity (KT((>7 mm))) demonstrating a 16 ms greater delay in biceps femoris reflex timing compared to females with below average knee laxity (KT((<5 mm))). Groups also differed in muscle activation amplitude by response, muscle and direction of rotation (i.e. a 4-way interaction; P = 0.027). The magnitude of change from pre to post perturbation was significantly less in KT((>7 mm)) vs. KT((<5 mm)) for the medial (MG) and lateral (LG) gastrocnemius muscles, primarily due to higher levels of muscle preactivity while awaiting the perturbation (MG = 20% vs. 12% MVIC, P = 0.05; LG = 33% vs. 21% MVIC, P = 0.11). Further, KT((>7 mm)) demonstrated higher activation levels in the biceps femoris than KT((<5 mm)) (47% vs. 27% MVIC; P = 0.025) regardless of response (pre vs. post perturbation) or direction of rotation. These findings suggest females with increased knee laxity may be less sensitive to joint displacement or loading (delayed reflex), and are more reliant on active control of the gastrocnemius and biceps femoris muscles to potentially compensate for reduced passive joint stability.Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 08/2004; 14(4):475-83. · 1.64 Impact Factor