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Paralysis of the gastrocnemius medial head differentially affects gait patterns and muscle activity during level and stair ascent locomotion

 Dongho Park  ;  Yeon-Jae Seong  ;  Hanseung Woo  ;  Beomki Yoo  ;  Dain Shim  ;  Eun Sang Kim  ;  Dong-wook Rha 
 GAIT & POSTURE, Vol.72 : 222-227, 2019 
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Calf reduction ; Electromyography ; Gait analysis ; Gastrocnemius ; Locomotion ; Paralysis
BACKGROUND: Prior studies have analyzed the activity of the gastrocnemius (GCM) medial and lateral heads as a single unit because it is technically challenging to separately analyze the function of each component in vivo. However, functional variation between the medial and lateral heads is expected due to their anatomical differences.

RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the independent function of the medial GCM? How does paralysis of the GCM medial head affect gait kinematics?.

METHODS: Twelve healthy adults (two males and ten females; age: 28.2 [±7.72] years) that were scheduled to undergo neurolysis of the tibial nerve branch supplying the medial head of the GCM for aesthetic calf reduction participated in the study. Gait analysis was performed using a computerized opto-electric gait analysis system to measure kinematic data. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded simultaneously during the gait analysis. Surface electrodes were placed on seven muscles. Pre-procedure and 1-week and 3-month post-procedure data were compared using a linear mixed model.

RESULTS: During level walking, decreased activity of the GCM medial head did not significantly change gait kinematics. However, a significant increase in GCM lateral head and hamstring activities occurred after a branch nerve block to the GCM medial head. During stair ascent, in contrast to level walking, changes in EMG activity only occurred in the GCM medial head, and post-procedure ankle dorsiflexion angles at the end of the terminal-stance phase significantly increased. Ankle plantarflexion angles during the push-off phase were also decreased when compared with pre-procedure values.

SIGNIFICANCE: The human body response to dysfunction of the GCM medial head depended on the type of locomotion.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine (재활의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Rha, Dong Wook(나동욱) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7153-4937
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