Motor imagery of foot dorsiflexion and gait: effects on corticospinal excitability

M Bakker, S Overeem, A H Snijders, G Borm, G van Elswijk, I Toni, B R Bloem
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2008, 119 (11): 2519-27

OBJECTIVE: We examined how corticospinal excitability was affected by motor imagery of foot dorsiflexion and motor imagery of gait.

METHODS: Transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over the primary motor cortex of 16 young healthy subjects while they performed imaginary foot dorsiflexions (Experiment I) and imaginary walking (Experiment II). Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the tibialis anterior (TA) and first dorsal interosseus (FDI). MEPs recorded during motor imagery were compared to those recorded during a matched visual imagery task.

RESULTS: Imagined foot dorsiflexions increased MEP areas in both TA and FDI. The increase in TA was stronger than in FDI. Overall, imagined walking did not change MEP areas. However, subjects with larger increases in TA during imagined foot dorsiflexion also showed larger increases in TA during imagined walking.

CONCLUSIONS: Imagined foot dorsiflexions increase corticospinal excitability in both a task-related muscle (TA) and a task-unrelated muscle (FDI), with larger increases in the task-related muscle. Imagined gait only increases corticospinal excitability in those subjects with the largest increments during imagined foot dorsiflexion.

SIGNIFICANCE: Imagery of a simple lower extremity movement evokes increases in corticospinal excitability. Furthermore, corticospinal effects of a simple motor imagery task can predict corticospinal effects of a more complex motor imagery task involving the same muscle.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"