Biomechanical changes at the knee after lower limb fatigue in healthy young women Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to identify changes in knee kinematics, kinetics and stiffness that occur during gait due to lower limb neuromuscular fatigue. METHODS: Kinematic, kinetic and electromyographic measures of gait were collected on healthy, young women (n=20) before and after two bouts of fatigue. After baseline gait analysis, two bouts of fatiguing contractions were completed. Fatigue was induced using sets of 50 isotonic knee extensions and flexions at 50% of the peak torque during a maximum voluntary isometric contraction. Fatigue was defined as a drop in knee extension or flexion maximum voluntary isometric torques of at least 25% from baseline. Gait analyses were completed after each bout of fatigue. Dynamic knee stiffness was calculated as the change in knee flexion moment divided by the change in knee flexion angle from 3 to 15% of the gait cycle. Co-activations of the biceps femoris and rectus femoris muscles were calculated from 3 to 15% and 40 to 52% of gait. Repeated measures analyses of variance assessed differences in discrete gait measures, knee torques, and electromyography amplitudes between baseline and after each bout of fatigue. FINDINGS: Fatigue decreased peak isometric torque. Fatigue did not alter knee adduction moments, knee flexion angles, dynamic knee stiffness, or muscle co-activation. Fatigue reduced the peak knee extension moment. INTERPRETATION: While neuromuscular fatigue of the knee musculature alters the sagittal plane knee moment in healthy, young women during walking, high intensity fatigue is not consistent with known mechanical environments implicated in knee pathologies or injuries.

publication date

  • April 2013

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