Evaluation of skeletal muscle activity during foot training exercises using positron emission tomography

Review written by Dr Melinda Smith info

Key Points

  1. Of the 25 muscles evaluated, only four muscles were deemed active in each foot training exercise, and these were mostly extrinsic muscles.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Several lower limb conditions, including plantar heel pain, hallux valgus, midfoot osteoarthritis, and exercise-related-leg pain, have been associated with intrinsic foot muscle weakness and/or atrophy. Foot training exercises are commonly prescribed to strengthen the foot intrinsic muscles. Knowledge of which muscles are used during different exercises may help clinicians target specific impairments found in patients presenting with lower limb pain and/or dysfunction.

The aim of this study was to evaluate skeletal muscle activity during foot training exercises using positron emission tomography (PET).

Several lower limb conditions have been associated with intrinsic foot muscle weakness and/or atrophy.
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The findings of this study have potential to inform exercise selection in the clinical setting.

METHODS

  • Eight healthy university students participated in this study. Four participants performed the rock-paper-scissors exercise and four performed the towel gathering exercise (see the video for a demonstration of each exercise).
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