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Andrew L. McDonough and Joseph P. Weir

The purpose of this case study was to investigate reflex inhibition of the quadriceps femoris in a subject with postsurgical edema of the left knee. The subject was a 45-year-old male with a traumatic knee injury with resultant edema who underwent elective arthroscopic surgery. Reflex inhibition was assessed by H-reflex elicitation in the femoral nerve and surface electromyography of the quadriceps. To assess the degree of edema, direct circumferential measurements were taken. On the first presurgical visit, the left knee demonstrated mild edema with a decrease in H-reflex amplitudes. Two days after surgery, a further reduction in amplitudes and more swelling were demonstrated followed by an increase in amplitudes and a reduction in edema on the 28th postoperative day. These findings document a relationship between reflex inhibition and joint swelling that was previously described in experimental models where joint edema was simulated.

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J. Ty Hopkins and Christopher D. Ingersoll


To define the concept of arthrogenic muscle inhibition (AMI), to discuss its implications in the rehabilitation of joint injury, to discuss the neurophysiologic events that lead to AMI, to evaluate the methods available to measure AM1 and the models that might be implemented to examine AMI, and to review therapeutic interventions that might reduce AMI.

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The databases MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, and CIHNAL were searched with the terms reflex inhibition, joint mechanoreceptor, Ib interneuron, Hoffmann reflex, effusion, and joint injury. The remaining citations were collected from references of similar papers.


AMI is a limiting factor in the rehabilitation of joint injury. It results in atrophy and deficiencies in strength and increases the susceptibility to further injury. A therapeutic intervention that results in decreased inhibition, allowing for active exercise, would lead to faster and more complete recovery.

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Adam S. Lepley and Lindsey K. Lepley

musculature can be controlled by ligaments via reflexive motor control. The establishment of a reflexive motor control arc from the ligaments of a joint to the surrounding musculature also led early researchers to believe that AMI is primarily reflexive in nature, caused by a presynaptic reflex inhibition of

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Yu Konishi, Ryo Yoshii, and Christopher D. Ingersoll

.1097/00005768-199912000-00001 33176382 19. Stokes M , Young A . The contribution of reflex inhibition to arthrogenous muscle weakness . Clin Sci . 1984 ; 67 ( 1 ): 7 – 14 . doi:10.1042/cs0670007 10.1042/cs0670007 20. Young A . Current issues in arthrogenous inhibition . Ann Rheum Dis . 1993 ; 52 ( 11 ): 829 – 834 . PubMed

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Yoshifumi Tanaka

This study investigated the effect of psychological pressure on spinal reflex excitability. Thirteen participants performed a balancing task by standing on a balance disk with one foot. After six practice trials, they performed one nonpressure and one pressure trial involving a performance-contingent cash reward or punishment. Stress responses were successfully induced; state anxiety, mental effort, and heart rates all increased under pressure. Soleus Hoffmann reflex amplitude in the pressure trial was significantly smaller than in the nonpressure trial. This modification of spinal reflexes may be caused by presynaptic inhibition under the control of higher central nerve excitation under pressure. This change did not prevent 12 of the 13 participants from successfully completing the postural control task under pressure. These results suggest that Hoffmann reflex inhibition would contribute to optimal postural control under stressful situations.

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Grant Norte, Justin Rush, and David Sherman

Arthrogenic dominant 1 Relating primarily to AMI, a presynaptic, ongoing reflex inhibition of the musculature surrounding a joint after distention or damage to structures of that joint. Muscle inhibition occurring primarily due to changes in, or injury to, joint tissues. Central activation failure 26 , 27 A

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Erik H. Arve, Emily Madrak, and Aric J. Warren

, Grung B . Knee effusion and reflex inhibition of quadriceps. A bar to effective retraining. J Bone Joint Surg . 1988 ; 70 ( 4 ): 635 – 638 . doi:10.1302/0301-620X.70B4.3403614 10.1302/0301-620X.70B4.3403614 11. Suter E , Herzog W , Bray RC . Quadriceps inhibition following arthroscopy in

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Komeil Dashti Rostami, Aynollah Naderi, and Abbey Thomas

. PubMed ID: 16721346 doi:10.1097/01.blo.0000223977.98712.30 10.1097/01.blo.0000223977.98712.30 16721346 9. Snyder-Mackler L , De Luca PF , Williams PR , Eastlack ME , Bartolozzi AR . Reflex inhibition of the quadriceps femoris muscle after injury or reconstruction of the anterior cruciate

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Nilüfer Kablan, Nuray Alaca, and Yaşar Tatar

have reported its reducing effect on stiffness. 7 , 8 It has been stated that the decrease in stiffness may be due to the cross-bridge breakage effect of PM via pressure and stretching, 7 decreasing motor neuron excitability, 26 creating local reflex inhibition, 23 and increasing intramuscular

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Komeil Dashti Rostami and Abbey Thomas

-loop postural reflexes: evidence for a human capsular-hamstring reflex . Exp Brain Res . 1992 ; 90 ( 1 ): 189 – 200 . PubMed ID: 1521607 doi:10.1007/BF00229271 1521607 10.1007/BF00229271 4. Snyder-Mackler L , De Luca PF , Williams PR , Eastlack ME , Bartolozzi AR . Reflex inhibition of the