Neuromuscular Control and Plasticity Lab: Contribution of Multi-joint Reflexes to Gait Impairment After Stroke
This research focuses on understanding the contribution of afferent feedback to abnormal activity in the lower limb of individuals with stroke. One of the common features of gait in stroke survivors is an impaired dynamic coupling between the frontal plane of the hip and the saggital plane of the knee. This coupling is evidenced by excessive hip circumduction and a reduction in knee flexion during swing. Although abnormal regulation of segmental reflexes has been implicated in abnormal motor behavior post-stroke, the contribution of these reflexes to impaired muscle activity during gait is not fully understood. To this end, my work has investigated the reflex coupling between muscles acting in the frontal plane of the hip and saggital plane of the knee due to the functional significance of these muscles in post-stroke gait. Our results have revealed a bi-directional coupling between the hip adductors and knee extensors which is not present in able-bodied controls. These results may provide insight into the neural mechanisms responsible for the abnormal muscle coordination seen during hemiparetic gait.