Muscle activation patterns in infants with myelomeningocele stepping on a treadmill

Jennifer K. Sansom, Caroline Teulier, Beth A. Smith, Victoria Moerchen, Karin Muraszko, Beverly D. Ulrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To characterize how infants with myelomeningocele (MMC) activate lower limb muscles over the first year of life, without practice, while stepping on a motorized treadmill. Methods: Twelve infants with MMC were tested longitudinally at 1, 6, and 12 months. Electromyography was used to collect data from the tibialis anterior, lateral gastrocnemius, rectus femoris, biceps femoris. Results: Across the first year, infants showed no electromyographic activity for approximately 50% of the stride cycle with poor rhythmicity and timing of muscles, when activated. Single muscle activation predominated; agonist-antagonist coactivation was low. Probability of individual muscle activity across the stride decreased with age. Conclusions: Infants with MMC show high variability in timing and duration of muscle activity, few complex combinations, and very little change over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-289
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromyography
  • female
  • gait
  • infant
  • male
  • motor skill
  • myelomeningocele
  • treadmill


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