Human myoelectric spatial patterns differ among lower limb muscles and locomotion speeds
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The spatial distribution of myoelectric activity within lower limb muscles is often nonuniform and can change during different stationary tasks. Recent studies using high-density electromyography (EMG) have suggested that spatial muscle activity may also differ among muscles during locomotion, but contrasting electrode array sizes and experimental designs have limited cross-study comparisons. Here, we sought to determine if spatial EMG patterns differ among lower limb muscles and locomotion speeds. We recorded high-density EMG from the vastus medialis, tibialis anterior, biceps femoris, medial gastrocnemius, and lateral gastrocnemius muscles of 11 healthy subjects while they walked (1.2 and 1.6 m/s) and ran (2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 m/s) on a treadmill. To overcome the detrimental effects of cable, electrode, and soft tissue movements on high-density EMG signal quality during locomotion, we applied multivariate signal cleaning methods. From these data, we computed the spatial entropy and center of gravity from the total myoelectric activity within each recording array during the stance or swing phases of the gait cycle. We found heterogeneous spatial EMG patterns evidenced by contrasting spatial entropy among lower limb muscles. As locomotion speed increased, mean entropy values decreased in four of the five recorded muscles, indicating that EMG signal amplitudes were more spatially heterogeneous, or localized, at faster speeds. The EMG center of gravity location also shifted in multiple muscles as locomotion speed increased. Contrasting myoelectric spatial distributions among muscles likely reflect differences in muscle architecture, but increasingly localized activity and spatial shifts in the center of gravity location at faster locomotion speeds could be influenced by preferential recruitment of faster motor units under greater loads.
author list (cited authors)
Schlink, B. R., Nordin, A. D., & Ferris, D. P.