Relation between the frequency of short-pulse electrical stimulation of afferent nerve fibers and evoked muscle force

Jakob Lund Dideriksen, Kasper Leerskov, Magdalena Czyzewska, Rune Kongsgaard Rasmussen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

9 Citationer (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is conventionally performed by the stimulation of motor axons causing the muscle fibers innervated by these axons to contract. An alternative strategy that may evoke contractions with more natural motor unit behavior is to stimulate afferent fibers (primarily type Ia) to excite the motor neurons at the spinal level. The aim of the study was to investigate the range of forces that can be evoked in this way and the degree to which the torque can be controlled.

METHODS: We stimulated the tibial nerve of ten healthy participants at amplitudes at which the highest H-reflex with minimal M-wave was present. The evoked plantar flexion torque was recorded following short stimulation pulses (0.4 ms) with frequencies ranging from 20-200 Hz.

RESULTS: Across all subjects, the median highest evocable torque was 38.3% (quartiles: 16.9-51.0) of the maximum voluntary contraction torque (MVC). The mean ± standard deviation of the evoked torque was 1.7±0.7% MVC. For most subjects, the relation between stimulation frequency and evoked torque was well characterized by sigmoidal curves (median root mean square error: 6.4% MVC). The plateau of this sigmoid curve (indicating the range of frequencies over which torque amplitude could be modulated) was reached at 56.0 (quartiles: 29.4-81.9) Hz.

CONCLUSION: Using the proposed method for FES, substantial evoked torques that could be controlled by stimulation frequency were achieved.

SIGNIFICANCE: Stimulation of afferent fibers could be a useful and fatigue-resistant strategy for several applications of FES.

TidsskriftIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)2737 - 2745
StatusUdgivet - 2017


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