Background: Recent intra-operative knee angle-muscle force data showed no abnormal muscular mechanics (i.e., a narrow joint range of muscle force exertion and peak muscle force availability at flexed joint positions), if the spastic gracilis muscle was stimulated alone. This can limit inter-muscular mechanical interactions, which have been shown to affect muscular mechanics substantially. We aimed at testing the hypothesis that the knee angle-muscle force curves of the spastic gracilis muscle activated simultaneously with a knee extensor are representative of joint movement disorder. Methods: Experiments were performed during remedial surgery of spastic cerebral palsy patients (n = 6, 10 limbs tested). Condition-I: muscle forces were measured in flexed knee positions (120° and 90°) after activating the gracilis exclusively. Condition-II: knee angle-muscle force data were measured from 120° to full extension after activating the vastus medialis, simultaneously. Findings: Condition-II vs. I: Inter-antagonistic interaction did not consistently cause a gracilis force increase. Condition-II: Peak muscle force = mean 47.92 N (SD 22.08 N). Seven limbs showed availability of high muscle force in flexed knee positions (with minimally 84.8% of peak force at 120°). Knee angle-muscle force curves of four of them showed a local minimum followed by an increasing force (explained by an increasing passive force, indicating muscle lengths unfavorable for active force exertion). High active gracilis forces measured at flexed knee positions and narrow operational joint range of force exertion do indicate abnormality. The remainder of the limbs showed no such abnormality. Interpretation: Our hypothesis is confirmed for most, but not all limbs tested. Therefore, tested inter-antagonistic mechanical interaction can certainly, but not exclusively be a factor for abnormal mechanics of the spastic muscle.
- Gracilis muscle
- Inter-antagonistic mechanical interaction
- Intra-operative measurements in human
- Muscle knee angle-force characteristics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine