Posts Tagged ‘quadriceps’

Exercise and Knee Osteoarthritis

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Muscle activation refers to the level of involvement of the muscle fibers in a skeletal muscle when it is working. Full activation occurs when all of the available fibers are used during a maximum-effort contraction. Many persons with knee osteoarthritis (OA) cannot fully activate their quadriceps (front thigh) muscles, which often are very weak.

A recent study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism addressed the problem. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied 111 subjects (minimum age: 40) with knee OA. Quadriceps strength and quadriceps activation (QA) were measured at baseline and after six weeks of training. The subjects were assigned to one of two specific training programs, both of which included quadriceps strengthening exercises.

After six weeks, strength gains were indeed found among the subjects, but one particular hypothesis of the scientists was not confirmed. They had expected baseline QA to be a strong predictor of which participants would respond best to either exercise plan. Instead, there was a broad range of divergence in strength gains, leading the researchers to conclude that variables other than QA score may be more useful in predicting which patients with knee OA are likely to benefit the most from quadriceps strengthening exercises.

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