Influence of hamstring lengthening on muscle activation timing during gait

J.H Buurke, H.J. Hermens, D. Roetenberg, J. Harlaar, D. Rosenbaum, R.F.M. Kleissen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    The purpose of this study was to describe the changes in muscle activation patterns using surface electromyography (sEMG) during walking in patients with cerebral palsy (CP), before and after hamstring lengthening. In the current clinical use of sEMG during walking in CP for pre-operative planning, various authors have observed that timing of muscle activation patterns hardly changes after surgical intervention. This observation is based on tendon transfer studies and visual interpretation of raw EMG signals. Little is known about the effect of muscle lengthening on muscle activation patterns of the lengthened muscles and their antagonists. Fifteen children with CP comprising a total of 23 hamstring lengthenings were included in this study. Surface EMG of semitendinosus and vastus lateralis was measured before and after surgery. Timing parameters of the sEMG patterns were quantified, using an objective burst detection algorithm and statistically evaluated. Results showed that hamstring lengthening causes statistically significant differences in timing of both the semitendinosus and vastus lateralis. It is concluded that timing parameters of operated muscles and their antagonists after surgery do change. The delayed off-time of the semitendinosus and the decreased burst duration of the antagonist (the vastus lateralis) after surgery were the most important changes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-53
    JournalGait & posture
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • SEMG
    • Soft tissue surgery
    • Muscle coordination
    • Hamstring lengthening
    • Gait analysis
    • Antagonist
    • Cerebral palsy


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