Plantar flexor muscles play a crucial role in maintaining balance during quiet standing. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of their fatigue on common input to these muscles, using a coherence analysis. Thirteen healthy young male adults stood quietly before and after a fatigue protocol consisting of a heel raise exercise. Center of pressure (COP) displacement and electromyograms (EMGs) from the bilateral medial gastrocnemius and soleus muscles were recorded. EMG-EMG coherences between the bilateral homologous muscles (bilateral coherence) and within the unilateral muscles (unilateral coherence) in the right leg were calculated. Anteroposterior and mediolateral COP speeds, mediolateral COP SD, and 95% confidence ellipse area were larger in post- than pre-fatigue condition. Bilateral and unilateral coherences in delta band, that reflect comodulation of muscle activation, and bilateral coherence in alpha band, that is supposedly associated with the subcortical inputs, were smaller in post- than pre-fatigue condition. Unilateral coherences in alpha and beta band, reflecting physiological tremor and corticospinal drive, respectively, were not different between pre- and post-fatigue conditions. It is suggested that the low-frequency common input to the plantar flexor muscles is reduced following the fatiguing contraction during quiet standing, likely by a change in the postural control strategy.
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