Specificity of surface EMG recordings for gastrocnemius during upright standing
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2017
The relatively large pick-up volume of surface electrodes has for long motivated the concern that muscles other than that of interest may contribute to surface electromyograms (EMGs). Recent findings suggest however the pick-up volume of surface electrodes may be smaller than previously appreciated, possibly leading to the detection of surface EMGs insensitive to muscle activity. Here we combined surface and intramuscular recordings to investigate how comparably action potentials from gastrocnemius and soleus are represented in surface EMGs detected with different inter-electrode distances. We computed the firing instants of motor units identified from intramuscular EMGs detected from gastrocnemius and soleus while five participants stood upright. We used these instants to trigger and average surface EMGs detected from multiple skin regions along gastrocnemius. Results from 66 motor units (whereof 31 from gastrocnemius) revealed the surface-recorded amplitude of soleus action potentials was 6% of that of gastrocnemius and did not decrease for inter-electrode distances smaller than 4 cm. Gastrocnemius action potentials were more likely detected for greater inter-electrode distances and their amplitude increased steeply up to 5 cm inter-electrode distance. These results suggest that reducing inter-electrode distance excessively may result in the detection of surface EMGs insensitive to gastrocnemius activity without substantial attenuation of soleus crosstalk.