5 years ago

The importance of cutaneous feedback on neural activation during maximal voluntary contraction

Huub Maas, Carla Pellegrin-Friedmann, Carlos Cruz-Montecinos, Claudio Tapia



The purpose of this study was to investigate the importance of cutaneous feedback on neural activation during maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the ankle plantar flexors.


The effects of cutaneous plantar anaesthesia were assessed in 15 subjects and compared to 15 controls, using a one-day pre/post-repeated measures design. Cutaneous plantar anaesthesia was induced by lidocaine injection at the centre of forefoot, lateral midfoot, and heel. Each subject performed isometric MVCs of the ankle plantar flexors. During each isometric ramp contraction, the following variables were assessed: maximal isometric torque; surface electromyography (EMG) activity of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles; and co-contraction index (CCI) between the MG and TA.


For ankle torque, two-way ANOVA showed no significant interaction between the pre/post-measurements × group (p = 0.166). However, MG activity presented significant interactions between the pre/post-measurements × group (p = 0.014). Post hoc comparisons indicated a decrease of MG activity in the experimental group, from 85.9 ± 11.9 to 62.7 ± 30.8% (p = 0.016). Additionally, the post-anaesthesia MG activity of the experimental group differed statistically with pre- and post-MG activity of the control group (p = 0.027 and p = 0.008, respectively). For TA activity and CCI, two-way ANOVA detected no significant interactions between the pre/post-measurements × group (p = 0.605 and p = 0.332, respectively).


Our results indicate that during MVC, cutaneous feedback modulates neural activity to MG muscle, without changing the extent of MG–TA co-contraction.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-017-3734-6

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-017-3734-6

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