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Discharge properties of abductor hallucis before, during, and after an isometric fatigue task.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Neurophysiology
1522-1598
Publisher
American Physiological Society
Publication Date
Volume
110
Issue
4
Pages
891–898
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1152/jn.00944.2012
PMID: 23678020
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Abductor hallucis is the largest muscle in the arch of the human foot and comprises few motor units relative to its physiological cross-sectional area. It has been described as a postural muscle, aiding in the stabilization of the longitudinal arch during stance and gait. The purpose of this study was to describe the discharge properties of abductor hallucis motor units during ramp and hold isometric contractions, as well as its discharge characteristics during fatigue. Intramuscular electromyographic recordings from abductor hallucis were made in 5 subjects; from those recordings, 42 single motor units were decomposed. Data were recorded during isometric ramp contractions at 60% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), performed before and after a submaximal isometric contraction to failure (mean force 41.3 ± 15.3% MVC, mean duration 233 ± 116 s). Motor unit recruitment thresholds ranged from 10.3 to 54.2% MVC. No significant difference was observed between recruitment and derecruitment thresholds or their respective discharge rates for both the initial and postfatigue ramp contractions (all P > 0.25). Recruitment threshold was positively correlated with recruitment discharge rate (r = 0.47, P < 0.03). All motor units attained similar peak discharge rates (14.0 ± 0.25 pulses/s) and were not correlated with recruitment threshold. Thirteen motor units could be followed during the isometric fatigue task, with a decline in discharge rate and increase in discharge rate variability occurring in the final 25% of the task (both P < 0.05). We have shown that abductor hallucis motor units discharge relatively slowly and are considerably resistant to fatigue. These characteristics may be effective for generating and sustaining the substantial level of force that is required to stabilize the longitudinal arch during weight bearing.

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