Functional muscle synergies to support the knee against moment specific loads while weight bearing

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Objective: Externally applied abduction and rotational loads are major contributors to the knee joint injury mechanism; yet, how muscles work together to stabilize the knee against these loads remains unclear. Our study sought to evaluate lower limb functional muscle synergies in healthy young adults such that muscle activation can be directly related to internal knee joint moments. Methods: Concatenated non-negative matrix factorization extracted muscle and moment synergies of 22 participants from electromyographic signals and joint moments elicited during a weight-bearing force matching protocol. Results: Two synergy sets were extracted: Set 1 included four synergies, each corresponding to a general anterior, posterior, medial, or lateral force direction. Frontal and transverse moments were coupled during medial and lateral force directions. Set 2 included six synergies, each corresponding to a moment type (extension/flexion, ab/adduction, internal/external rotation). Hamstrings and quadriceps dominated synergies associated with respective flexion and extension moments while quadriceps-hamstring co-activation was associated with knee abduction. Rotation moments were associated with notable contributions from hamstrings, quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and hip ab/adductors, corresponding to a general co-activation muscle synergy. Conclusion: Our results highlight the importance of muscular co-activation of all muscles crossing the knee to support it during injury-inducing loading conditions such as externally applied knee abduction and rotation. Functional muscle synergies can provide new insight into the relationship between neuromuscular control and knee joint stability by directly associating biomechanical variables to muscle activation.

TidsskriftJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
StatusUdgivet - 2021

ID: 257406803