In vitro analysis of muscle activity illustrates mediolateral decoupling of hind and mid foot bone motion


Activity of the extrinsic ankle-foot muscles is typically described for the whole foot. This study determines if this muscle activity is also confirmed for individual foot segments defined in multi-segment foot models used for clinical gait analysis. Analysis of the individual bone motion can identify functional complexes within the foot and evaluates the influence of an altered foot position on muscle activity. A custom designed and built gait simulator incorporating pneumatic actuators is used to control the muscle force of six muscle groups in cadaveric feet. Measurements were performed in three static postures in which individual muscle force was incrementally changed. The motion of four bone embedded LED-clusters was measured using a Krypton motion capture system and resulting motion of calcaneus, talus, navicular and cuboid was calculated. Results indicate that primary muscle activity at bone level corresponds with that described for the whole foot. Secondary activity is not always coherent for bones within one segment: decoupling of the movement of medial and lateral foot bones is documented. Furthermore, secondary muscle activity can alter according to foot position. The observed medio-lateral decoupling of the foot bones dictates the need to extend some of the multi-segment foot models currently used in clinical gait analysis.

In Gait & Posture, Elsevier