Current Projects

Influence of Intramuscular Electromyographic Electrode Insertion on Lower Back Muscle Performance and Activation

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Background: Recurrent low back pain (RLBP) has been shown to be associated with paraspinal muscle dysfunctions. Intramuscular electromyography (EMG) has been used to study activation of the deep paraspinal muscles, but it is not known how the paraspinal muscle activation of subjects with RLBP is affected by the invasive intramuscular insertion and the presence of the fine-wire electrode in the muscle.

Purpose: To analyze how insertion of fine-wire EMG into the lumbar multifidus muscle affects paraspinal muscle activation as measured by surface EMG during high exertion spinal extension in subjects with RLBP.

Reliability and Validity of Using a Mobile Application to Assess Knee Motion in Healthy and Post-Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Subjects

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Background: Definitive guidelines for return to sport after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) have yet to be established. However, functional tasks that involve landing, hopping, and cutting are widely used to determine the readiness of an athlete for sport participation. Video analysis can also be used to identify kinematics of the knee in determining risk of reinjury upon return to sport. To date, clinicians rely on visual analysis of kinematics due to inaccessibility of 3D video analysis systems within most clinics.

Purpose: To establish the reliability and validity of using a mobile application as a tool to measure dynamic knee valgus angle during functional activities in healthy and ACL Reconstruction (ACLR) populations.

Patellofemoral Joint Stress During Uphill and Downhill Running

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Background: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is the most common running overuse injury. PFP has been associated with increases in PFJ stress in runners. Specifically, runners often report an increase in PFP symptoms while running downhill, which may be attributed to increase in PFJ stress. Increases in PFJ stress during downhill running is related to increases in PFJ reaction forces, which are potentially caused by altered knee flexion angle and/or increased knee extensor moment due to a more upright trunk posture and greater peak ground reaction forces. Conversely, a more flexed trunk posture is adopted in runners during uphill running, which may cause a reduction in PFJ stress during uphill running.

Purpose: To investigate how slope affects patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stress in recreational runners under three running conditions: uphill, level, and downhill

Neuromuscular Adaptations During Slope Walking in Individuals Post-Stroke

Background: An estimated 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke every year with physical inactivity, especially walking, being a primary risk factor. One of the most significant symptoms following stroke is impaired gait performance, with diminished strength and inappropriately graded muscle activity as the primary contributors. Inappropriately graded muscle activity is shown through both an exaggerated reflex and muscle spasticity, which greatly affect gait in people post-stroke. This can be measured through the H-reflex/M-wave (H/M) ratio and contributes to altered anterior-posterior (A-P) ground reaction forces. Although short term adaptations of the A-P ground reaction forces and H/M ratios following sloped walking have been evaluated and studied in non-impaired individuals, it has yet to be evaluated in patients post-stroke.

Purpose: To investigate the short-term neurological adaptations in a stroke-impaired population after a single bout of treadmill walking. This will provide evidence for activity-dependent spinal plasticity in the stroke-impaired nervous system, and can lead to development of a novel targeted intervention to enhance post-stroke locomotor control and interaction with challenging environmental conditions during daily life such as slope walking.