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Open AccessArticle

sEMG Activation of the Flexor Muscles in the Foot during Balance Tasks by Young and Older Women: A Pilot Study

1
Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Opole University of Technology, Prószkowska 76, 45-758 Opole, Poland
2
Institute of Informatics, Silesian University of Technology, Akademicka 16, 44-100 Gliwice, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224307
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 30 October 2019 / Accepted: 4 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
Objective: In this publication, we suggest that young adults and seniors use various defense mechanisms to counteract loss of balance. One of the hypotheses is the change in the coordination of antagonistic muscle groups, especially within the ankles. In this study, we tried to determine if there is a relationship between the condition from resilient, to pre-frail, to frail and the ability to maintain balance during free standing and balance tasks. The aim of the study was to define the importance of muscle activity in the ankle joint, dorsal flexor of the foot for the following: tibialis anterior (TA), plantar flexor of the foot gastrocnemius medialis (GM), gastrocnemius lateralis (GL), and peroneus longus (PER), during balance tasks with eyes open (EO) and closed (EC). We hypothesized that there are differences in the activity and co-activation of the tested muscles in young and older women, which may indicate an increased risk of falls and walking disorders. Materials and methods: A group of 20 women qualified for the study. The group was divided into two subgroups, young (G1) and elderly women (G2). The aim of the study was to define the importance of muscle activity in the ankle joint, dorsal flexor of the foot for the following: tibialis anterior (TA), plantar flexor of the foot gastrocnemius medialis (GM), gastrocnemius lateralis (GL), and peroneus longus (PER), during balance tasks with eyes open (EO) and closed (EC). Results: In this study, we observed significant differences between groups in the maximum and mean values of electromyography activity (EMG) activation of the examined muscles on different types of surfaces and with open and closed eyes. Older women generated higher values of EMG activation in all muscles except the gastrocnemius medialis muscle. The results were significant for co-activation at rest for muscles as follows: tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius medialis with eyes closed (p = 0.01) and peroneus and gastrocnemius lateralis at rest with eyes open (p = 0.03), eyes closed (p = 0.04), and on a foam (p = 0.02). The sEMG amplitude of the tested muscles means that agonist muscle activity changed relative to antagonistic muscle activity. Conclusions: Activation of sEMG and coordination of ankle muscles during balance tasks change with age. It can be hypothesized that assessment of balance during free standing and equivalent tasks can predict the state of frailty, after taking into account other physiological variables that are believed to affect balance control. View Full-Text
Keywords: balance tasks; dorsal flexor; plantar flexor; surface electromyography balance tasks; dorsal flexor; plantar flexor; surface electromyography
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Błaszczyszyn, M.; Szczęsna, A.; Piechota, K. sEMG Activation of the Flexor Muscles in the Foot during Balance Tasks by Young and Older Women: A Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4307.

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