JOURNAL ARTICLE

Control of bipedal posture following localised muscle fatigue of the plantar-flexors and finger-flexors

Petra Hlavackova, Didier Pradon, Nicolas Vuillerme
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2012, 112 (2): 789-93
21626040
The present experiment investigated the control of bipedal posture following localised muscle fatigue of the plantar-flexors and finger-flexors. Twelve young healthy adults voluntarily participated in this study. They were asked to stand upright as still as possible with their eyes closed in two randomly ordered experimental sessions. Each session consisted of pre- and post-fatigue bipedal static postural control measurements immediately before and after a designated fatiguing protocol for plantar-flexor and finger-flexor muscles. Centre of foot pressure (CoP) displacements were recorded using a force platform. The results showed that the postural effects of localised muscle fatigue differed between the muscles targeted by the fatiguing procedures. Indeed, localised muscle fatigue of the plantar-flexors yielded increased CoP displacements, whereas localised muscle fatigue of the finger-flexors had no significant effect on the CoP displacements. In other words, fatigue localised to muscles which are involved in the performance of the postural task (plantar-flexors) degraded postural control, whereas fatigue localised to muscles which are not involved in the performance of the postural task did not. Taken together, the present findings support the recent conclusions that the effects of localised muscle fatigue on upright postural control is joint- and/or muscle-specific, and suggest that localised muscles fatigue of the plantar-flexors could mainly affect bipedal postural control via sensorimotor rather than cognitive processes.

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