To investigate the effects of aging on coordination of plantar flexor muscles during bipedal and unipedal stances, we examined a relationship between the center of pressure sway and electromyographic activity of these muscles, and also the common neural input, using a coherence analysis. Healthy young and elderly adults were asked to perform bipedal and unipedal standing. The electromyograms were recorded unilaterally from the medial and lateral gastrocnemius (MG and LG) and soleus (SL) muscles, and the common input was analyzed for MG–LG, MG–SL, and LG–SL pairs in two frequency bands: a delta band, that is associated with force variability, and a beta band, that could reflect the corticospinal drive. Main results indicated that the MG and SL muscles worked for lateral sway, while the LG muscle worked for medial sway during the unipedal stance. The delta-band coherence for the MG–SL pair and the beta-band coherences for all the pairs were larger during the unipedal than bipedal stance for both groups. The delta-band coherence for the MG–SL pair was larger for the elderly than young adults during the unipedal stance. In addition, the beta-band coherence for the MG–SL pair was larger than the other pairs during the unipedal stance for the elderly. These findings suggest that the oscillatory activity between the MG and SL muscles is strongly involved in the control of unipedal stance, and aging would increase the cortical drive to these muscles to deal with the postural sway that could be affected by forces generated cooperatively by them.
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