Balance and Muscle Synergies during a Single-Limb Stance Task in Individuals with Chronic Ankle Instability

M. Ghislieri, L. Labanca, M. Mosca, L. Bragonzoni, M. Kanflitz & V. Agostini
IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering

The aim of this study was to investigate balance performance and muscle synergies during a Single-Limb Stance (SLS) task in individuals with Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI) and a group of healthy controls. Twenty individuals with CAI and twenty healthy controls were asked to perform a 30-second SLS task in Open-Eyes (OE) and Closed-Eyes (CE) conditions while standing on a force platform with the injured or the dominant limb, respectively. The activation of 13 muscles of the lower limb, hip, and back was recorded by means of surface electromyography. Balance performance was assessed by identifying the number and the duration of SLS epochs, and the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) in Antero-Posterior (AP) and Medio-Lateral (ML) directions of the body-weight normalized ground reaction forces. The optimal number of synergies, weight vectors, and activation coefficients were also analyzed. CAI group showed a higher number and a shorter duration of SLS epochs and augmented ground reaction force RMS in both AP and ML directions compared to controls. Both groups showed an increase in the RMS in AP and ML forces in CE compared to OE. Both groups showed 4 optimal synergies in CE, while controls showed 5 synergies in OE. CAI showed a significantly higher weight of knee flexor muscles in both OE and CE. In conclusion, muscle synergies analysis provided an in–depth knowledge of motor control mechanisms in CAI individuals. They showed worse balance performance, a lower number of muscle synergies in a CE condition and abnormal knee flexor muscle activation compared to healthy controls.

Read more