Objective: To determine whether a 12-week home quadriceps muscle strengthening exercise program would increase muscle strength, isometric endurance, and tension time index (TTI) in postpolio syndrome subjects without adversely affecting the surviving motor units or the muscle. Design: A longitudinal study to investigate the effect of a 12-week exercise program on neuromuscular function and electromyographic variables. Setting: Neuromuscular laboratory of a university hospital. Subjects: Seven subjects were recruited from a cohort of 12 subjects who had participated in a previous exercise study. All subjects had greater than antigravity strength of the quadriceps. Upon completion of a postpolio questionnaire, all acknowledged common postpolio syndrome symptoms such as new fatigue, pain, and weakness; 6 of the 7 acknowledged new strength decline. Intervention: On Mondays and Thursdays subjects performed three sets of four maximal isometric contractions of the quadriceps held for 5 seconds each. On Tuesdays and Fridays subjects performed three sets of 12 dynamic knee extension exercises with ankle weights. Main Outcome Measures: Neuromuscular variables of the quadriceps muscles were measured at the beginning and completion of the exercise program and included: isokinetic peak torque (ISOKPT, at 60°/sec angular velocity) and total work performed of four contractions (ISOKTW), isometric peak torque (MVC), endurance (EDUR, time subject could hold isometric contraction at 40% of the initial MVC), isometric tension time index (TTI, product of endurance time and torque at 40% of MVC), and initial and final ankle weight (WGT, kg) lifted. Electromyographic variables included: fiber density (FD), jitter (MCD), and blocking (BLK) from single fiber assessment and median macro amplitude (MACRO). Serum creatine kinase (CK) was also measured initially and at 4-week intervals throughout the study. Results: The following variables significantly (p < .05) increased: WGT by 47%, ISOKPT, 15%, ISOKTW, 15%; MVC, 36%; EDUR, 21%; TTI, 18%. The following variables did not significantly (p > .05) change: FD, MCD, BLK, MACRO, and CK. Conclusions: This home exercise program significantly increased strength, endurance, and TTI without apparently adversely affecting the motor units or the muscle, as the EMG and CK variables did not change.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI. Submitted for publication August 30, 1996. Accepted in revised form January 3, 1997. Supported by United States Department H133GlOZlO and H133G40040. No commercial party having a direct financial interest in the results of the research supporting this article has or will confer a benefit upon the authors or upon any organization with which the authors are associated. Dr. Franke is currently affiliated with the Department of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles. Reprints are not available. 0 1997 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 0003-9993/97/7807-4170$3.00/0