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.