Research Article| Volume 25, ISSUE 9, P938-943, November 2010

Gender-specific neuromuscular activity of the M. peroneus longus in healthy runners — A descriptive laboratory study



      Gender-specific neuromuscular activity for the ankle (e.g., peroneal muscle) is currently not known. This knowledge may contribute to the understanding of overuse injury mechanisms. The purpose was therefore to analyse the neuromuscular activity of the peroneal muscle in healthy runners.


      Fifty-three male and 54 female competitive runners were tested on a treadmill at 3.33 m s1. Neuromuscular activity of the M. peroneus longus was measured by electromyography and analysed in the time domain (onset of activation, time of maximum of activation, total time of activation) in % of stride time in relation to touchdown (=1.0). Additionally, mean amplitudes for the gait cycle phases preactivation, weight acceptance and push-off were calculated and normalised to the mean activity of the entire gait cycle.


      Onset of activation (mean; female: 0.86/male: 0.90, p<0.0001) and time of maximum of activation (female: 1.13/male: 1.16, p<0.0001) occurred earlier in female compared to male and the total time of activation was longer in women (female: 0.42/male: 0.39, p=0.0036). In preactivation, women showed higher amplitudes (+21%) compared to men (female: 1.16/male: 0.92, p<0.0001). Activity during weight acceptance (female: 2.26/male: 2.41, p=0.0039) and push-off (female: 0.93/male: 1.07, p=0.0027) were higher in men.


      Activation strategies of the peroneal muscle appear to be gender-specific. Higher preactivation amplitudes in females indicate a different neuromuscular control in anticipation of touchdown (“pre-programmed activity”). These data may help interpret epidemiologically reported differences between genders in overuse injury frequency and localisation.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Clinical Biomechanics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Arendt E.
        • Dick R.
        Knee injury patterns among men and women in collegiate basketball and soccer. NCAA data and review of literature.
        Am. J. Sports Med. 1995; 23: 694-701
        • Azevedo L.B.
        • Lambert M.I.
        • Vaughan C.L.
        • O'Connor C.M.
        • Schwellnus M.P.
        Biomechanical variables associated with Achilles tendinopathy in runners.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 2009; 43: 288-292
        • Baur H.
        • Hirschmüller A.
        • Müller S.
        • Gollhofer A.
        • Mayer F.
        Muscular activity in treadmill and overground running.
        Isokin. Exerc. Sci. 2007; 15: 165-171
        • Borom A.H.
        • Clanton T.O.
        Sport Shoes and Orthoses.
        in: DeLee J.C. Drez Jr., D. Miller M.D. Orthopaedic sports medicine. vol. 2. PA Saunders, Philadelphia2003: 2275-2323
        • Buist I.
        • Bredeweg S.W.
        • Bessem B.
        • van Mechelen W.
        • Lemmink K.A.
        • Diercks R.L.
        Incidence and risk factors of running-related injuries during preparation for a four-mile recreational running event.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 2008; (published online first on May 16)
        • Cheung R.T.
        • Ng G.Y.
        Motion control shoe delays fatigue of shank muscles in runners with overpronating feet.
        Am. J. Sports Med. 2010; 38: 486-491
        • Chumanov E.S.
        • Wall-Scheffler C.
        • Heiderscheit B.C.
        Gender differences in walking and running on level and inclined surfaces.
        Clin. Biomech. 2008; 23: 1260-1268
        • Delahunt E.
        • Monaghan K.
        • Caulfield B.
        Altered neuromuscular control and ankle joint kinematics during walking in subjects with functional instability of the ankle joint.
        Am. J. Sports Med. 2006; 34: 1970-1976
        • Divert C.
        • Baur H.
        • Mornieux G.
        • Mayer F.
        • Belli A.
        Stiffness adaptations in shod running.
        J. Appl. Biomech. 2005; 21: 311-321
        • Ferber R.
        • McClay Davis I.
        • Williams D.S.
        Gender differences in lower extremity mechanics during running.
        Clin. Biomech. 2003; 18: 350-357
        • Gehring D.
        • Melnyk M.
        • Gollhofer A.
        Gender and fatigue have influence on knee joint control strategies during landing.
        Clin. Biomech. 2009; 24: 82-87
        • Gollhofer A.
        • Kyrolainen H.
        Neuromuscular control of the human leg extensor muscles in jump exercises under various stretch-load conditions.
        Int. J. Sports Med. 1991; 12: 34-40
        • Hertel J.
        Functional anatomy, pathomechanics, and pathophysiology of lateral ankle instability.
        J. Athl. Train. 2002; 37: 364-375
        • Hodges P.W.
        • Bui B.H.
        A comparison of computer-based methods for the determination of onset of muscle contraction using electromyography.
        Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol. 1996; 101: 511-519
        • Horita T.
        • Komi P.V.
        • Nicol C.
        • Kyrolainen H.
        Interaction between pre-landing activities and stiffness regulation of the knee joint musculoskeletal system in the drop jump: implications to performance.
        Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 2002; 88: 76-84
        • Hreljac A.
        • Marshall R.N.
        • Hume P.A.
        Evaluation of lower extremity overuse injury potential in runners.
        Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2000; 32: 1635-1641
        • Knapik J.J.
        • Sharp M.A.
        • Canham-Chervak M.
        • Hauret K.
        • Patton J.F.
        • Jones B.H.
        Risk factors for training-related injuries among men and women in basic combat training.
        Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2001; 33: 946-954
        • Konradsen L.
        Sensori-motor control of the uninjured and injured human ankle.
        J. Electromyogr. Kinesiol. 2002; 12: 199-203
        • Konradsen L.
        • Voigt M.
        Inversion injury biomechanics in functional ankle instability: a cadaver study of simulated gait.
        Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sports. 2002; 12: 329-336
        • Konradsen L.
        • Voigt M.
        • Hojsgaard C.
        Ankle inversion injuries: the role of the dynamic defense mechanism.
        Am. J. Sports Med. 1997; 25: 54-58
        • Kyrolainen H.
        • Avela J.
        • Komi P.V.
        Changes in muscle activity with increasing running speed.
        J. Sports Sci. 2005; 23: 1101-1109
        • Lun V.
        • Meeuwisse W.H.
        • Stergiou P.
        • Stefanyshyn D.
        Relation between running injury and static lower limb alignment in recreational runners.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 2004; 38: 576-580
        • Macera C.A.
        Lower extremity injuries in runners. Advances in prediction.
        Sports Med. 1992; 13: 50-57
        • Malone T.R.
        • Hardaker W.T.
        • Garrett W.E.
        • Feagin J.A.
        • Bassett F.H.
        Relationship of gender to anterior cruciate ligament injuries in intercollegiate basketball players.
        J. South. Orthop. Assoc. 1993; 2: 36-39
        • Murphy D.F.
        • Connolly D.A.J.
        • Beynnon B.D.
        Risk factors for lower extremity injury: a review of the literature.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 2003; 37: 13-29
        • Myklebust G.
        • Haehlum S.
        • Holm I.
        • Bahr R.
        A prospective cohort study of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in elite Norwegian team handball.
        Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sports. 1998; 8: 149-153
        • Novacheck T.F.
        The biomechanics of running.
        Gait Posture. 1998; 7: 77-95
        • Palmieri-Smith R.M.
        • Wojtys E.M.
        • Ashton-Miller J.A.
        Association between preparatory muscle activation and peak valgus knee angle.
        J. Electromyogr. Kinesiol. 2008; 18: 973-979
        • Rauh M.J.
        • Koepsell T.D.
        • Rivara F.P.
        • Margherita A.J.
        • Rice S.G.
        Epidemiology of musculoskeletal injuries among high school cross-country runners.
        Am. J. Epidemiol. 2006; 163: 151-159
        • Romani W.
        • Patrie J.
        • Curl L.A.
        • Flaws J.A.
        The correlations between estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, and sex hormone-binding globulin and anterior cruciate ligament stiffness in healthy, active females.
        J. Womens Health. 2003; 12: 287-298
        • Ryan M.
        • Grau S.
        • Krauss I.
        • Maiwald C.
        • Taunton J.
        • Horstmann T.
        Kinematic analysis of runners with achilles mid-portion tendinopathy.
        Foot Ankle Int. 2009; 30: 1190-1195
        • Satterthwaite P.R.
        • Norton R.
        • Larmer P.
        • Robinson E.
        Risk factors for injuries and other health problems sustained in a marathon.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 1999; 33: 22-26
        • Smoliga J.M.
        • Myers J.B.
        • Redfern M.S.
        • Lephart S.M.
        Reliability and precision of EMG in leg, torso, and arm muscles during running.
        J. Electromyogr. Kinesiol. 2010; 20: e1-e9
        • Taunton J.E.
        • Ryan M.B.
        • Clement D.B.
        • Mc Kenzie D.C.
        • Lloyd-Smith D.R.
        • Zumbo B.D.
        A retrospective case–control analysis of 2002 running injuries.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 2002; 36: 95-101
        • Van Gent R.M.
        • Siem D.
        • van Middelkoop M.
        • van Os A.G.
        • Bierma-Zeinstra S.M.A.
        • Koes B.W.
        Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: a systematic review.
        Br. J. Sports Med. 2007; 41: 469-480
        • Van Mechelen W.
        Running Injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature.
        Sports Med. 1992; 14: 320-335
        • von Tscharner V.
        • Goepfert B.
        Gender dependent EMGs of runners resolved by time/frequency and principal pattern analysis.
        J. Electromyogr. Kinesiol. 2003; 13: 253-272
        • Winter D.A.
        Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Gait: Normal, Elderly and Pathological. 2nd ed. Waterloo Biomechanics, Waterloo1991
        • Winter D.A.
        • Yack J.H.
        EMG profiles during normal human walking: stride-to-stride and inter-subject variability.
        Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol. 1987; 67: 402-411
        • Zebis M.K.
        • Andersen L.L.
        • Bencke J.
        • Kjaer M.
        • Aagaard P.
        Identification of athletes at future risk of anterior cruciate ligament ruptures by neuromuscular screening.
        Am. J. Sports Med. 2009; 37: 1967-1973
        • Zinder S.M.
        • Granata K.P.
        • Shultz S.J.
        • Gansneder B.M.
        Ankle bracing and the neuromuscular factors influencing joint stiffness.
        J. Athl. Train. 2009; 44: 363-369