Locomotor training and muscle function after incomplete spinal cord injury: Case series

Arun Jayaraman, Prithvi Shah, Christopher Gregory, Mark Bowden, Jennifer Stevens, Mark Bishop, Glenn Walter, Andrea Behrman, Krista Vandenborne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background/Objective: To determine whether 9 weeks of locomotor training (LT) results in changes in muscle strength and alterations in muscle size and activation after chronic incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). Study Design: Longitudinal prospective case series. Methods: Five individuals with chronic incomplete SCI completed 9 weeks of LT. Peak isometric torque, torque developed within the initial 200 milliseconds of contraction (Torque200), average rate of torque development (ARTD), and voluntary activation deficits were determined using isokinetic dynamometry for the knee-extensor (KE) and plantar-flexor (PF) muscle groups before and after LT. Maximum muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured prior to and after LT. Results: Locomotor training resulted in improved peak torque production in all participants, with the largest increases in the more-involved PF (43.9% ± 20.0%), followed by the more-involved KE (21.1% ± 12.3%). Even larger improvements were realized in Torque200 and ARTD (indices of explosive torque), after LT. In particular, the largest improvements were realized in the Torque200 measures of the PF muscle group. Improvements in torque production were associated with enhanced voluntary activation in both the KE and ankle PF muscles and an increase in the maximal CSA of the ankle PF muscles. Conclusion: Nine weeks of LT resulted in positive alterations in the KE and PF muscle groups that included an increase in muscle size, improved voluntary activation, and an improved ability to generate both peak and explosive torque about the knee and ankle joints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Body weight support
  • Dynamometry
  • Locomotion
  • Locomotor training
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Muscle strength, activation
  • Paraplegia
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Spinal cord injuries, incomplete
  • Tetraplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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