Impairment of voluntary control of finger motion following stroke: Role of inappropriate muscle coactivation

D. G. Kamper*, William Z Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Subjects with chronic hemiplegia following stroke attempted to perform voluntary isometric, isokinetic, and free contractions of the extensor muscles of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints. We recorded torque, metacarpophalangeal joint angle and velocity, and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the extrinsic extensors and flexors and the first dorsal interosseous (FDI). We found that voluntary MCP joint extension in hemiparetic subjects was greatly impaired in comparison with control subjects: only two of the 11 stroke subjects were able to generate even 0.21 N-m of isometric extension torque, only two could produce positive finger extension with no load, and none could develop an isokinetic concentric extension. Deficits seemed to result from a combination of coactivation of the finger flexor and extensor muscles and decreased voluntary excitation of the extensors, as normalized flexor and FDI EMG activity were greater for stroke than for control subjects (P < 0.001), but normalized extensor activity was reduced (P < 0.001).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-681
Number of pages9
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2001


  • Coactivation
  • Fingers
  • Reciprocal inhibition
  • Stroke
  • Voluntary control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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