There is a common clinical belief that transverse plane tibial rotation is controlled by the rearfoot. Although distal structures may influence the motion of the tibia, transverse plane tibial rotation could be determined by the proximal hip musculature. Cadaver studies have identified gluteus maximus as having the largest capacity for external rotation of the hip. This study was therefore undertaken to investigate the effect of gluteus maximus on tibial motion. Kinematic data were collected from the foot and tibia along with EMG data from gluteus maximus for 17 male subjects during normal walking. A number of kinematic parameters were derived to characterise early stance phase. Gluteus maximus function was characterised using RMS EMG and EMG on/off times. No differences in muscle timing were found to be associated with any of the kinematic parameters. In addition, no differences in gluteal activation levels were found between groups of subjects who had different amounts of tibial rotation. However, there was a significant difference (p < 0.001) in gluteus maximus activation when groups were defined by the time taken to decelerate the tibia (time to peak internal velocity). Specifically, subjects with greater gluteus maximus activity had a lower time to decelerate the tibia. We suggest that a high level of gluteus maximus activity results in a larger external torque being applied to the femur, which ultimately leads to a more rapid deceleration of the tibia.
- Gluteus maximus
- Rearfoot pronation
- Tibial rotation
- BSS-Biomechatronics and rehabilitation technology