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BACKGROUND: Motor assessment after incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) currently consists of tests for muscle strength (manual muscle testing) and gait. The ability to adequately time a movement, an aspect of dexterity, is not tested. Thus, this study assessed the timing of ankle dorsiflexion in iSCI patients in the supine position and during gait and examined its relation to measures for muscle strength, corticospinal conductivity and gait speed. METHODS: In 12 subjects with iSCI and 12 matched controls, timing of ankle dorsiflexion was tested by means of auditory-paced dorsi- and plantar-flexion movements at three frequencies in the supine position and by determining initiation and termination of dorsiflexion in swing during gait. In addition, maximal movement velocity (MMV) in the ankle task, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), corticospinal conductivity (motor evoked potentials (MEP)) and gait speed (10 Meter Walk Test) were assessed. RESULTS: The groups did not significantly differ in timing of ankle dorsiflexion, neither in the supine position nor in gait. However, they significantly differed in MMV at all frequencies, MEP latency, MEP amplitude and gait speed. In contrast to ankle timing in the supine position, the onset of dorsiflexion in swing during gait significantly correlated to the dynamic MEP parameters. CONCLUSIONS: Although MMV and gait speed were significantly reduced, timing of ankle dorsiflexion, both in the supine position and during gait,was less impaired in iSCI patients. This indicates that the loss of strength, particularly of dynamic strength, is the major motor impairment in iSCI, which might be considered when assessing treatment interventions.
|Item Type:||Journal Article, refereed, original work|
|Communities & Collections:||04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center|
|DDC:||610 Medicine & health|
|Deposited On:||20 Nov 2008 11:46|
|Last Modified:||23 Nov 2012 15:17|
|Additional Information:||The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com|
|WoS Citation Count:||3|
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