Modulation of soleus H-reflex following ipsilateral mechanical loading of the sole of the foot in normal and complete spinal cord injured humans

M. Knikou, B.A. Conway

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    Abstract

    The modulation of the soleus H-reflex in response to tonic mechanical loading applied to the plantar aspect of the foot sole was examined in nine normal subjects and five patients with a clinically defined complete spinal cord injury (SCI). With the subjects seated, tonic pressure applied to the metatarsal region of the ipsilateral foot sole significantly depressed soleus H-reflex excitability in all subjects. The demonstration of a decrease in H-reflex excitability in both subject groups as a result of applied pressure to the foot suggests that the change in reflex excitability is the result of a common spinal mechanism. The results highlight the modulatory effects that natural stimulation of cutaneous afferents can have on reflex excitability and may have practical application in gait rehabilitation and in the management of disorders of muscle tone following SCI.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)107-110
    Number of pages3
    JournalNeuroscience Letters
    Volume303
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

    Keywords

    • spinal cord injury
    • H-reflex
    • cutaneous afferents
    • natural stimulation
    • motor control
    • bioengineering

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