The Effect of Fatigue on Leg Muscle Activation and Tibial Acceleration During a Jumping Task

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Lower-extremity stress fractures (SFx) are a common occurrence during load-bearing activities of jumping and landing. To detect biomechanical changes during jumping postinjury, a fatigue model could be used. Objective: To evaluate muscle activation in the lower leg and tibial accelerations (TAs) prefatigue to postfatigue following a jumping task in those with and without a history of SFx. Design: Repeated-measures. Setting: Athletic Training Research Lab. Participants: A total of 30 active college-aged students with and without a history of lower-extremity (leg or foot) SFx (15 males and 15 females; 21.5 [5.04] y, height = 173.5 [12.7] cm, weight = 72.65 [16.4] kg). Intervention: A maximal vertical jump on one leg 3 times with arms folded across the chest prefatigue to postfatigue was performed. Fatigue protocol was standing heel raises on a custom-built platform at a pace controlled by a metronome until task failure was reached. Legs were tested using a randomized testing order. Electromyographic (EMG) surface electrodes were placed on the medial gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis anterior following a standardized placement protocol. A triaxial accelerometer was attached to the proximal anteromedial surface of the tibia. Main Outcome Measures: Linear envelopes of the medial gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis anterior and peak accelerations (resultant acceleration takeoff and landing).Results: Significant interaction for leg × test for tibialis anterior with a posttest difference between SFx and control (P = .05). There were decreases in EMG linear envelope following fatigue for medial gastrocnemius (P < .01) and tibialis anterior (P = .12) pretest to posttest. At takeoff, TA was greater in the SFx contralateral leg in comparison with the control leg (P = .04). At landing, TA was greater in posttest (P < .01) and in the SFx leg compared with SFx contralateral (P = .14). Conclusion: A decrease in muscle activity and an increase in TA following fatigue were noted for all subjects but especially for those with a history of SFx.

Sandrey is with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA. Chang is with the Division of Physical Therapy, School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA. McCrory is with the Division of Exercise Physiology, School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA.

Sandrey (msandrey@mail.wvu.edu) is corresponding author.
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