Effects of tendon vibration on the spatiotemporal characteristics of human locomotion.
SourceExperimental Brain Research, 143, 2, (2002), pp. 231-239
Article / Letter to editor
Display more detailsDisplay less details
Experimental Brain Research
SubjectBrain and Behaviour / Bioelectricity; Hersenen en Gedrag / Bio-elektriciteit
The present study addressed the involvement of proprioceptive input of the muscle spindles in the spatiotemporal control of human locomotion. Blindfolded subjects walked along a walkway while tendon vibration, a powerful stimulus of Ia afferents, was applied to various muscles of the lower limb. The effects of tendon vibration were measured on joint kinematics and on intralimb and interlimb coordination. Tendon vibration of the tibialis anterior during locomotion led to a decreased plantar flexion at toe-off, whereas vibration of the triceps surae led to a decreased dorsiflexion during swing. Vibration of the quadriceps femoris at the knee led to a decreased knee flexion during swing. These local effects of vibration can be explained in the light of a lengthening illusion of the vibrated muscle in that phase of the gait cycle where the muscle is lengthened. Tendon vibration did not affect the qualitative features of intralimb coordination. With respect to interlimb coordination, only vibration of the biceps femoris showed a significant increase in phase lead of the vibrated limb. The present results suggest the involvement of Ia afferent input in the online control of joint rotations. Additionally it is hypothesized that the proprioceptive input of biceps femoris might be involved in the control of coordination between the limbs, whereas the coordination between the segments of one limb appears to be unaffected by disturbance of muscle spindle input of one muscle.
Upload full text