Upper Limb Loss and Gastrocnemius Muscle Activation during Locomotion

Faculty Sponsor

Brooke Starkoff


Arts and Sciences


Exercise Science

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-28-2022


Approximately 41,000 people in the US suffer from upper limb loss (ULL), which can offset balance and impact lower body activities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of simulated ULL on muscle activation of the gastrocnemius during walking, jogging, and running. Six subjects (3 males, 3 females, 19.8+1.2 yrs, 172.1+10.2 cm, 66.09+13.2 kg) volunteered to participate in three forms of locomotion (walking, jogging, running) under three conditions (no arms bound, one arm bound, both arms bound). Muscle activation of the left and right lateral and medial gastrocnemius was measured via surface electromyography (sEMG). A repeated-measures ANOVA identified a significant difference when participants were running while both arms were bound (p = 0.01). No significant difference was detected between walking and jogging with one arm or both arms bound (p > 0.05). These results suggest that ULL increases muscle activation in the gastrocnemius while running. This shows that the gastrocnemius is a likely contributor to the balance and stability in ULL patients. This study could further the knowledge of future physical therapists in regards to lower limb muscle activation and their contribution to balance and stability in ULL patients.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

My name is Lindsay Vibbert, and I am a senior exercise science major at Valparaiso University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. I am a female student, and my birthday is April 19th, 2000. I am a member of Pi Beta Phi, a sorority on campus.

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