Effects of Changes in Ankle Joint Angle on the Relation Between Plantarflexion Torque and EMG Magnitude in Major Plantar Flexors of Male Chronic Stroke Survivors.
ABSTRACT: The slope of the EMG-torque relation is potentially useful as a parameter related to muscular contraction efficiency, as a greater EMG-torque slope has often been reported in stroke-impaired muscles, compared to intact muscles. One major barrier limiting the use of this parameter on a routine basis is that we do not know how the EMG-torque slope is affected by changing joint angles. Thus, the primary purpose of this study is to characterize the EMG-torque relations of triceps surae muscles at different ankle joint angles in both paretic and non-paretic limbs of chronic hemispheric stroke survivors. Nine male chronic stroke survivors were asked to perform isometric plantarflexion contractions at different contraction intensities and at five different ankle joint angles, ranging from maximum plantarflexion to maximum dorsiflexion. Our results showed that the greater slope of the EMG-torque relations was found on the paretic side compared to the non-paretic side at comparable ankle joint angles. The EMG-torque slope increased as the ankle became plantarflexed on both sides, but an increment of the EMG-torque slope (i.e., the coefficient a) was significantly greater on the paretic side. Moreover, the relative (non-paretic/paretic) coefficient a was also strongly correlated with the relative (paretic/non-paretic) maximum ankle plantarflexion torque and with shear wave speed in the medial gastrocnemius muscle. Conversely, the relative coefficient a was not well-correlated with the relative muscle thickness. Our findings suggest that muscular contraction efficiency is affected by hemispheric stroke, but in an angle-dependent and non-uniform manner. These findings may allow us to explore the relative contributions of neural factors and muscular changes to voluntary force generating-capacity after stroke.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ankle exoskeletons offer a promising opportunity to offset mechanical deficits after stroke by applying the needed torque at the paretic ankle. Because joint torque is related to gait speed, it is important to consider the user's gait speed when determining the magnitude of assistive joint torque. We developed and tested a novel exoskeleton controller for delivering propulsive assistance which modulates exoskeleton torque magnitude based on both soleus muscle activity and walking speed. The purpose of this research is to assess the impact of the resulting exoskeleton assistance on post-stroke walking performance across a range of walking speeds. METHODS:Six participants with stroke walked with and without assistance applied to a powered ankle exoskeleton on the paretic limb. Walking speed started at 60% of their comfortable overground speed and was increased each minute (n00, n01, n02, etc.). We measured lower limb joint and limb powers, metabolic cost of transport, paretic and non-paretic limb propulsion, and trailing limb angle. RESULTS:Exoskeleton assistance increased with walking speed, verifying the speed-adaptive nature of the controller. Both paretic ankle joint power and total limb power increased significantly with exoskeleton assistance at six walking speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03, n04, n05). Despite these joint- and limb-level benefits associated with exoskeleton assistance, no subject averaged metabolic benefits were evident when compared to the unassisted condition. Both paretic trailing limb angle and integrated anterior paretic ground reaction forces were reduced with assistance applied as compared to no assistance at four speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03). CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that despite appropriate scaling of ankle assistance by the exoskeleton controller, suboptimal limb posture limited the conversion of exoskeleton assistance into forward propulsion. Future studies could include biofeedback or verbal cues to guide users into limb configurations that encourage the conversion of mechanical power at the ankle to forward propulsion. TRIAL REGISTRATION:N/A.
Project description:Background:The lateral ankle ligament complex consisting of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL) is known to provide stability against ankle joint inversion. As injuries of the ankle joint have been reported at a wide range of plantarflexion/dorsiflexion angles, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the stabilizing function of these ligaments depending on the sagittal plane positioning of the ankle joint. Methods:Eight fresh-frozen specimens were tested on a custom-built ankle deflection tester allowing the application of inversion torques in various plantarflexion/dorsiflexion positions. A motion capture system recorded kinematic data from the talus, calcaneus and fibula with bone-pin markers during inversion movements at 10° of dorsiflexion, at neutral position and at plantarflexion 10°. ATFL, CFL and PTFL were separately but sequentially sectioned in order to assess the contribution of the individual ligament with regard to ankle joint stability. Results:Joint- and position-specific modulations could be observed when the ligaments were cut. Cutting the ATFL did not lead to any observable alterations in ankle inversion angle at a given torque. But subsequently cutting the CFL increased the inversion angle of the talocrural joint in the 10° plantarflexed position, and significantly increased the inversion angle of the subtalar joint in the 10° dorsiflexed position. Sectioning of the PTFL led to minor increases of inversion angles in both joints. Conclusions:The CFL is the primary ligamentous stabilizer of the ankle joint against a forced inversion. Its functioning depends greatly on the plantar-/dorsiflexion position of the ankle joint complex, as it provides the stability of the talocrural joint primarily during plantarflexion and the stability of the subtalar joint primarily during dorsiflexion.
Project description:Wearable robotic devices can restore and enhance mobility. There is growing interest in designing devices that reduce the metabolic cost of walking; however, designers lack guidelines for which joints to assist and when to provide the assistance. To help address this problem, we used musculoskeletal simulation to predict how hypothetical devices affect muscle activity and metabolic cost when walking with heavy loads. We explored 7 massless devices, each providing unrestricted torque at one degree of freedom in one direction (hip abduction, hip flexion, hip extension, knee flexion, knee extension, ankle plantarflexion, or ankle dorsiflexion). We used the Computed Muscle Control algorithm in OpenSim to find device torque profiles that minimized the sum of squared muscle activations while tracking measured kinematics of loaded walking without assistance. We then examined the metabolic savings provided by each device, the corresponding device torque profiles, and the resulting changes in muscle activity. We found that the hip flexion, knee flexion, and hip abduction devices provided greater metabolic savings than the ankle plantarflexion device. The hip abduction device had the greatest ratio of metabolic savings to peak instantaneous positive device power, suggesting that frontal-plane hip assistance may be an efficient way to reduce metabolic cost. Overall, the device torque profiles generally differed from the corresponding net joint moment generated by muscles without assistance, and occasionally exceeded the net joint moment to reduce muscle activity at other degrees of freedom. Many devices affected the activity of muscles elsewhere in the limb; for example, the hip flexion device affected muscles that span the ankle joint. Our results may help experimentalists decide which joint motions to target when building devices and can provide intuition for how devices may interact with the musculoskeletal system. The simulations are freely available online, allowing others to reproduce and extend our work.
Project description:It is a challenge to reduce the muscular discoordination in the paretic upper limb after stroke in the traditional rehabilitation programs.In this study, a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and robot hybrid system was developed for multi-joint coordinated upper limb physical training. The system could assist the elbow, wrist and fingers to conduct arm reaching out, hand opening/grasping and arm withdrawing by tracking an indicative moving cursor on the screen of a computer, with the support from the joint motors and electrical stimulations on target muscles, under the voluntary intention control by electromyography (EMG). Subjects with chronic stroke (n = 11) were recruited for the investigation on the assistive capability of the NMES-robot and the evaluation of the rehabilitation effectiveness through a 20-session device assisted upper limb training.In the evaluation, the movement accuracy measured by the root mean squared error (RMSE) during the tracking was significantly improved with the support from both the robot and NMES, in comparison with those without the assistance from the system (P < 0.05). The intra-joint and inter-joint muscular co-contractions measured by EMG were significantly released when the NMES was applied to the agonist muscles in the different phases of the limb motion (P < 0.05). After the physical training, significant improvements (P < 0.05) were captured by the clinical scores, i.e., Modified Ashworth Score (MAS, the elbow and the wrist), Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), and Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT).The EMG-driven NMES-robotic system could improve the muscular coordination at the elbow, wrist and fingers.ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT02117089 ; date of registration: April 10, 2014.
Project description:This study presents an investigation of the changes in foot posture, joint kinematics, joint moments and joint contact forces in the lower extremity following a 5 k treadmill run. A relationship between knee and ankle joint loading and foot posture index (FPI) is developed. Twenty recreational male heel-strike runners participated in this study. All participants had a history of running exercise and were free from lower extremity injuries and foot deformities. Foot posture was assessed from a six-item FPI to quantitatively classify high supination to high pronation foot poses. The FPI is scored using a combination of observations and foot palpations. The three-dimensional marker trajectories, ground reaction force and surface electromyography (EMG) were recorded at pre and post-gait sessions conducted over-ground and 5 k running was conducted on a treadmill. Joint kinematics, joint moments and joint contact forces were computed in OpenSim. Simulated EMG activations were compared against experimental EMG to validate the model. A paired sample t-test was conducted using a 1D statistical parametric mapping method computed temporally. Hip joint moments and contact forces increased during initial foot contact following 5 k running. Knee abduction moment and superior-inferior knee contact force increased, whereas the knee extension moment decreased. Ankle plantarflexion moment and ankle contact forces increased during stance. FPI was found to be moderately correlated with peak knee and ankle moments. Recreational male runners presented increased static foot pronation after 5 k treadmill running. These findings suggest that following mid distance running foot pronation may be an early indicator of increased lower limb joint loading. Furthermore, the FPI may be used to quantify the changes in knee and ankle joint moments.
Project description:Stroke-induced hemiparetic gait is characteristically asymmetric and metabolically expensive. Weakness and impaired control of the paretic ankle contribute to reduced forward propulsion and ground clearance - walking subtasks critical for safe and efficient locomotion. Targeted gait interventions that improve paretic ankle function after stroke are therefore warranted. We have developed textile-based, soft wearable robots that transmit mechanical power generated by off-board or body-worn actuators to the paretic ankle using Bowden cables (soft exosuits) and have demonstrated the exosuits can overcome deficits in paretic limb forward propulsion and ground clearance, ultimately reducing the metabolic cost of hemiparetic walking. This study elucidates the biomechanical mechanisms underlying exosuit-induced reductions in metabolic power. We evaluated the relationships between exosuit-induced changes in the body center of mass (COM) power generated by each limb, individual joint power and metabolic power. Compared with walking with an exosuit unpowered, exosuit assistance produced more symmetrical COM power generation during the critical period of the step-to-step transition (22.4±6.4% more symmetric). Changes in individual limb COM power were related to changes in paretic (R2=0.83, P=0.004) and non-paretic (R2=0.73, P=0.014) ankle power. Interestingly, despite the exosuit providing direct assistance to only the paretic limb, changes in metabolic power were related to changes in non-paretic limb COM power (R2=0.80, P=0.007), not paretic limb COM power (P>0.05). These findings contribute to a fundamental understanding of how individuals post-stroke interact with an exosuit to reduce the metabolic cost of hemiparetic walking.
Project description:Ischemic conditioning (IC) on the arm or leg has emerged as an intervention to improve strength and performance in healthy populations, but the effects on neurological populations are unknown. The purpose of this study was to quantify the effects of a single session of IC on knee extensor strength and muscle activation in chronic stroke survivors. Maximal knee extensor torque measurements and surface EMG were quantified in 10 chronic stroke survivors (>1 yr poststroke) with hemiparesis before and after a single session of IC or sham on the paretic leg. IC consisted of 5 min of compression with a proximal thigh cuff (inflation pressure?= 225 mmHg for IC or 25 mmHg for sham) followed by 5 min of rest. This was repeated five times. Maximal knee extensor strength, EMG magnitude, and motor unit firing behavior were measured before and immediately after IC or sham. IC increased paretic leg strength by 10.6?± 8.5 Nm, whereas no difference was observed in the sham group (change in sham?= 1.3?± 2.9 Nm, P?= 0.001 IC vs. sham). IC-induced increases in strength were accompanied by a 31?±?15% increase in the magnitude of muscle EMG during maximal contractions and a 5% decrease in motor unit recruitment thresholds during submaximal contractions. Individuals who had the most asymmetry in strength between their paretic and nonparetic legs had the largest increases in strength ( r2?= 0.54). This study provides evidence that a single session of IC can increase strength through improved muscle activation in chronic stroke survivors. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Present rehabilitation strategies for chronic stroke survivors do not optimally activate paretic muscle, and this limits potential strength gains. Ischemic conditioning of a limb has emerged as an effective strategy to improve muscle performance in healthy individuals but has never been tested in neurological populations. In this study, we show that ischemic conditioning on the paretic leg of chronic stroke survivors can increase leg strength and muscle activation while reducing motor unit recruitment thresholds.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to compare the inter-limb joint kinematics, joint moments, muscle forces, and joint reaction forces in patients after an Achilles tendon rupture (ATR) via subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling. Six patients recovering from a surgically repaired unilateral ATR were included in this study. The bilateral Achilles tendon (AT) lengths were evaluated using ultrasound imaging. The three-dimensional marker trajectories, ground reaction forces, and surface electromyography (sEMG) were collected on both sides during self-selected speed during walking, jogging and running. Subject-specific musculoskeletal models were developed to compute joint kinematics, joint moments, muscle forces and joint reaction forces. AT lengths were significantly longer in the involved side. The side-to-side triceps surae muscle strength deficits were combined with decreased plantarflexion angles and moments in the injured leg during walking, jogging and running. However, the increased knee extensor femur muscle forces were associated with greater knee extension degrees and moments in the involved limb during all tasks. Greater knee joint moments and joint reaction forces versus decreased ankle joint moments and joint reaction forces in the involved side indicate elevated knee joint loads compared with reduced ankle joint loads that are present during normal activities after an ATR. In the frontal plane, increased subtalar eversion angles and eversion moments in the involved side were demonstrated only during jogging and running, which were regarded as an indicator for greater medial knee joint loading. It seems after an ATR, the elongated AT accompanied by decreased plantarflexion degrees and calf muscle strength deficits indicates ankle joint function impairment in the injured leg. In addition, increased knee extensor muscle strength and knee joint loads may be a possible compensatory mechanism for decreased ankle function. These data suggest patients after an ATR may suffer from increased knee overuse injury risk.
Project description:Passive prosthetic feet lack active plantarflexion and push-off power resulting in gait deviations and compensations by individuals with transtibial amputation (TTA) during slope ascent. We sought to determine the effect of active ankle plantarflexion and push-off power provided by a powered prosthetic ankle-foot (PWR) on lower extremity compensations in individuals with unilateral TTA as they walked up a slope. We hypothesized that increased ankle plantarflexion and push-off power would reduce compensations commonly observed with a passive, energy-storing-returning prosthetic ankle-foot (ESR). We compared the temporal spatial, kinematic, and kinetic measures of ten individuals with TTA (age: 30.2 ± 5.3 yrs) to matched abled-bodied (AB) individuals during 5° slope ascent. The TTA group walked with an ESR and separately with a PWR. The PWR produced significantly greater prosthetic ankle plantarflexion and push-off power generation compared to an ESR and more closely matched AB values. The PWR functioned similar to a passive ESR device when transitioning onto the prosthetic limb due to limited prosthetic dorsiflexion, which resulted in similar deviations and compensations. In contrast, when transitioning off the prosthetic limb, increased ankle plantarflexion and push-off power provided by the PWR contributed to decreased intact limb knee extensor power production, lessening demand on the intact limb knee.
Project description:An unsettled question in the use of robotics for post-stroke gait rehabilitation is whether task-specific locomotor training is more effective than targeting individual joint impairments to improve walking function. The paretic ankle is implicated in gait instability and fall risk, but is difficult to therapeutically isolate and refractory to recovery. We hypothesize that in chronic stroke, treadmill-integrated ankle robotics training is more effective to improve gait function than robotics focused on paretic ankle impairments.Participants with chronic hemiparetic gait were randomized to either six weeks of treadmill-integrated ankle robotics (n?=?14) or dose-matched seated ankle robotics (n?=?12) videogame training. Selected gait measures were collected at baseline, post-training, and six-week retention. Friedman, and Wilcoxon Sign Rank and Fisher's exact tests evaluated within and between group differences across time, respectively. Six weeks post-training, treadmill robotics proved more effective than seated robotics to increase walking velocity, paretic single support, paretic push-off impulse, and active dorsiflexion range of motion. Treadmill robotics durably improved gait dorsiflexion swing angle leading 6/7 initially requiring ankle braces to self-discarded them, while their unassisted paretic heel-first contacts increased from 44 % to 99.6 %, versus no change in assistive device usage (0/9) following seated robotics.Treadmill-integrated, but not seated ankle robotics training, durably improves gait biomechanics, reversing foot drop, restoring walking propulsion, and establishing safer foot landing in chronic stroke that may reduce reliance on assistive devices. These findings support a task-specific approach integrating adaptive ankle robotics with locomotor training to optimize mobility recovery.NCT01337960. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01337960?term=NCT01337960&rank=1.