The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of ankle position on the electromyographic (EMG) activity, peak torque, and peak knee flexion to extension torque ratio during isokinetic testing of the knee. Twelve healthy female athletes performed six maximal knee extension and flexion repetitions with their dominant legs at 60 and 180°/s with the ankle in a plantar flexed position and again in a dorsiflexed position. Root mean square EMG (rmsEMG) activity was determined by placing bipolar surface electrodes on the quadriceps and the hamstrings. Ankle position had no effect on the rmsEMG activity of the quadriceps or the hamstrings at either 60 or 180°/s. Significant differences were noted for peak flexor torque at 607s (p < .001) and 180°/s (p <.01) and for peak torque flexor/extensor ratio (p < .01), with higher values observed with ankle dorsiflexion. This suggests that ankle position affects knee flexor torque and flexor/extensor ratio but not hamstring activity during isokinetic testing of the knee.
John P. Miller, Kerriann Catlaw and Robert Confessore
John P. Miller, James C. Vailas, Ronald V. Croce, Robert Confessore and Kerriann Catlaw
This study examined the effects of (a) functional knee braces on thigh muscle EMG and (b) physical activity and leg shape on knee brace migration. Ten female college ice hockey players were fitted with a strap-secured functional knee brace (SSB) and a hard-shell functional knee brace with strapping. Participants performed a side-step maneuver, a treadmill ran, and an obstacle course. Significant differences were noted in hamstring and quadriceps EMG median frequency (mfEMG) while wearing the SSB compared with the control condition. Significant downward shifts were noted in hamstring mfEMG for both braces when compared with the control condition. There was greater brace migration for the obstacle course for both brace types. No relation was found between leg shape and the amount of migration. This study suggests that custom-fitted functional knee braces alter the motor unit recruitment patterns of the thigh musculature during physical activity and that they do not migrate significantly during physical activity.