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Effects of repeated ankle plantar-flexions on H-reflex and body sway during standing

Laudani, L. and Woods, L. and Casabona, A. and Giuffrida, R. and De Vito, G. (2009) Effects of repeated ankle plantar-flexions on H-reflex and body sway during standing. Journal of Electro - myography and Kinesiology, 19 (1). pp. 85-92. ISSN 1050-6411

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Abstract

The study investigated relations between effects of repeated ankle plantar-flexion movements exercise on the soleus Hoffmann (H) reflex and on postural body sway when maintaining upright stance. Ten young volunteers performed five sets of ankle plantar-flexions of both lower limbs. Assessment of the feet centre-of-pressure (COP) displacement and H-reflex tests were carried out in quiet stance before, during and after the exercise. H-max and M-max responses were obtained in 8 subjects and reported as the peak-to-peak amplitudes of the right soleus muscle electromyographic waves. Mean dispersion of COP along the antero-posterior direction increased significantly during the exercise; whilst the overall H-reflex response indicated a reduction without a concomitant modification in the M-max response. H-reflex responses, however, varied between participants during the first sets of exercise, showing two main trends of modulation: either depression or early facilitation followed by reduction of the H-reflex amplitude. The extent of reflex modulation in standing position was correlated to the concentric work performed during the exercise (r=0.85; p<0.01), but not to the antero-posterior COP dispersion. These results suggest that during a repeated ankle plantar-flexions exercise, modulation of the H-reflex measured in upright stance differs across individuals and is not related to changes of postural sway.