Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31828dc3b6
Research Article

Muscle Activation Patterns in Infants With Myelomeningocele Stepping on a Treadmill

Sansom, Jennifer K. PT, MPT, PhD; Teulier, Caroline PhD; Smith, Beth A. PT, DPT, PhD; Moerchen, Victoria PT, PhD; Muraszko, Karin MD; Ulrich, Beverly D. PhD

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Abstract

Purpose: To characterize how infants with myelomeningocele (MMC) activate lower limb muscles over the first year of life, without practice, while stepping on a motorized treadmill.

Methods: Twelve infants with MMC were tested longitudinally at 1, 6, and 12 months. Electromyography was used to collect data from the tibialis anterior, lateral gastrocnemius, rectus femoris, biceps femoris.

Results: Across the first year, infants showed no electromyographic activity for approximately 50% of the stride cycle with poor rhythmicity and timing of muscles, when activated. Single muscle activation predominated; agonist-antagonist coactivation was low. Probability of individual muscle activity across the stride decreased with age.

Conclusions: Infants with MMC show high variability in timing and duration of muscle activity, few complex combinations, and very little change over time.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association.

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