Surface EMG (SEMG) can provide a simple, non-invasive method to assess the activation of muscles involved in performing specific tasks. Likewise SEMG can aid in determining the timing and intensity of muscular activation and contraction during task specific performance. Thus, SEMG analysis has been widely employed in the field of ergonomics, bio-mechanics, sports science, and kinesiology (McGill, 2004).
SEMG can serve as a useful tool specifically in gait analysis, the origins of which date back to Europe in the 17th century. Vern Inman, and colleagues moved the science of gait analysis dramatically forward by adding kinesiologic EMG, 3-D force, and energy measurements in the study of walking in normal subjects and amputees (1944-1947) (Sutherland, 2001). Kinesiologic EMG is a technique which is used to determine the relationship of muscle activation to joint movement and to the gait (see Volume II, Chapter 19).
These techniques of dynamic EMG have been employed to evaluate varies disease states, such as children with cerebral palsy, stroke patients and in patients with prosthetic devices. The use of gait analysis in children with cerebral palsy has allowed for better surgical intervention to influence gait function. Finally, electromyographic biofeedback has been used to improve lower extremity function after stroke (Moreland et al., 1998).
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