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Arthrogenic muscle response to a simulated ankle joint effusion
  1. R M Palmieri1,
  2. C D Ingersoll1,
  3. M A Hoffman2,
  4. M L Cordova3,
  5. D A Porter4,
  6. J E Edwards5,
  7. J P Babington5,
  8. B A Krause6,
  9. M B Stone3
  1. 1Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Research Laboratory, Department of Human Services, University of Virginia, PO Box 400407, 210 Emmet Street, South, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4407, USA
  2. 2Sports Injury and Disability Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  3. 3Sports Injury Research Laboratory, Athletic Training Department, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809, USA
  4. 4Thomas A Brady Clinic, Methodist Sports Medicine Center, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
  5. 5Department of Physical Education, Indiana State University
  6. 6Department of Athletic Training, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 R Palmieri
 Department of Human Services, University of Virginia, PO Box 400407, 210 Emmet Street, South, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4407, USA;


Background: Arthrogenic muscle inhibition (AMI) is a continuing reflex reaction of the musculature surrounding a joint after distension or damage to the structures of that joint. This phenomenon has been well documented after knee joint injury and has been generalised to occur at other joints of the human body, yet minimal research has been conducted in this regard. The response of the muscles crossing the ankle/foot complex after ankle injury and effusion is not well understood. AMI may occur after an ankle sprain contributing to residual dysfunction.

Objective: To determine if AMI is present in the soleus, peroneus longus, and tibialis anterior musculature after a simulated ankle joint effusion.

Methods: Eight neurologically sound volunteers (mean (SD) age 23 (4) years, height 171 (6) cm, mass 73 (10) kg) participated. Maximum H-reflex and maximum M-wave measurements were collected using surface electromyography after delivery of a percutaneous stimulus to the sciatic nerve before its bifurcation into the common peroneal and posterior tibial nerves.

Results: The H-reflex and M-wave measurements in all muscles increased (p⩽0.05) after the simulated ankle joint effusion.

Conclusions: Simulated ankle joint effusion results in facilitation of the soleus, peroneus longus, and tibialis anterior motoneurone pools. This may occur to stabilise the foot/ankle complex in order to maintain posture and/or locomotion.

  • ankle sprain
  • muscle facilitation
  • neuromuscular injury
  • reflex inhibition
  • AMI, arthrogenic muscle inhibition
  • EMG, electromyography
  • FAI, functional ankle instability

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