Electromyographic analysis of leg extension exercise during different ankle and knee positions

Belli Guido, Vitali Luca, Botteghi Matteo, Vittori Leydi Natalia, Petracci Elisabetta, Maietta Latessa Pasqualino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The imbalance between vastus medialis oblique (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL) strength is one of the main factor for patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) onset, related to improper alignment of the patella. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effects of knee flexion, knee rotation and ankle flexion attitudes on the activity of the VMO and VL muscles during unilateral maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MIVC) of the quadriceps femoris. Eighteen healthy subjects volunteered for the study. Five conditions for two different knee flexion angles (90°; 30°) were tested using leg extension machine: Neutral (N) condition, maximal knee medial rotation (MR), maximal knee lateral rotation (LR), maximal ankle plantarflexion (PF) and maximal ankle dorsiflexion (DF). Data were normalized in order to calculate the normalized VMO/VL ratio. The normalized VMO/VL ratio for all the conditions occurred at 90° of knee flexion was higher than the same conditions at 30° of knee flexion (p = 0:02). No statistical differences between conditions at the same knee angle and for angle x condition interaction were observed (p > 0:05). These findings suggest that knee flexion should be the first variable to be managed during isometric knee extension movement performed by leg extension machine, in order to increase VMO/VL ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1540037
JournalJournal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 25 2015


  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Leg extension
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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