European Journal of Translational Myology
pagepress scientific publications
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Vibratory (Tvib) and sustained (Tsust) torque responses to concurrent Achilles tendon vibration and neuromuscular electrical stimulation applied over the muscle belly (vib+stim) are used as indicators of motoneuron facilitation and, theoretically, persistent inward current strength. However, neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) applied to the nerve trunk may potentiate motoneuronal excitability more than muscle belly NMES, yet it remains unclear whether NMES applied over the nerve evokes robust Tvib and Tsust responses when used during the vib+stim protocol. This study tested whether a nerve-targeted vib+stim protocol elicits Tvib and Tsust responses in the ankle plantar flexors with acceptable intra- and inter-session reliability. Fifteen men performed the vib+stim protocol with NMES applied over the tibial nerve three times across two sessions; twice in a single session (5-min apart) to test intrasession reliability and then again after 48 h to test intersession reliability. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC3,1), within-participant coefficients of variation (CV) and pairwise comparisons were used to verify relative and absolute reliability as well as systematic bias. Thirteen men presented Tvib and Tsust responses (response rate of 87%). Intrasession Tvib and Tsust ICCs were > 0.73 but inter-session ICCs were < 0.5. Although no systematic bias was detected (p > 0.05), both intra- and inter-session CVs were large ( > 10%) for Tvib and Tsust. The Vib+stim protocol with NMES applied over the nerve evoked Tvib and Tsust in almost all participants, but presented a large intra- and inter-session variability. The method does not appear to be effective for assessing motoneuron facilitation in the plantar flexors.
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