Neuromechanical control of the forearm muscles during gripping with sudden flexion and extension wrist perturbations Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The purpose of this study was to investigate how gripping modulates forearm muscle co-contraction prior to and during sudden wrist perturbations. Ten males performed a sub-maximal gripping task (no grip, 5% and 10% of maximum) while a perturbation forced wrist flexion or extension. Wrist joint angles and activity from 11 muscles were used to determine forearm co-contraction and muscle contributions to wrist joint stiffness. Co-contraction increased in all pairs as grip force increased (from no grip to 10% grip), corresponding to a 36% increase in overall wrist joint stiffness. Inclusion of individual muscle contributions to wrist joint stiffness enhanced the understanding of forearm co-contraction. The extensor carpi radialis longus (ECRL) and brevis had the largest stiffness contributions (34.5 ± 1.3% and 20.5 ± 2.3%, respectively), yet muscle pairs including ECRL produced the lowest co-contraction. The muscles contributing most to wrist stiffness were consistent across conditions (ECRL for extensors; Flexor Digitorum Superficialis for flexors), suggesting enhanced contributions rather than muscular redistribution. This work provides investigation of the neuromuscular response to wrist perturbations and gripping demands by considering both co-contraction and muscle contributions to joint stiffness. Individual muscle stiffness contributions can be used to enhance the understanding of forearm muscle control during complex tasks.

publication date

  • December 10, 2015