Evaluation of Muscle Function by Means of a Muscle-Specific and a Global Index

S. Rosati, M. Ghislieri, G. Dotti, D. Fortunato, V. Agostini, M.Knaflitz, and G. Balestra

Gait analysis applications in clinics are still uncommon, for three main reasons: (1) the considerable time needed to prepare the subject for the examination; (2) the lack of user-independent tools; (3) the large variability of muscle activation patterns observed in healthy and pathological subjects. Numerical indices quantifying the muscle coordination of a subject could enable clinicians to identify patterns that deviate from those of a reference population and to follow the progress of the subject after surgery or completing a rehabilitation program. In this work, we present two user-independent indices. First, a muscle-specific index (MFI) that quantifies the similarity of the activation pattern of a muscle of a specific subject with that of a reference population. Second, a global index (GFI) that provides a score of the overall activation of a muscle set. These two indices were tested on two groups of healthy and pathological children with encouraging results. Hence, the two indices will allow clinicians to assess the muscle activation, identifying muscles showing an abnormal activation pattern, and associate a functional score to every single muscle as well as to the entire muscle set. These opportunities could contribute to facilitating the diffusion of surface EMG analysis in clinics

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