Observation of muscle activation in relationship to digit force production during a precision pinch tracking task
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The primary purpose of this study was to observe the relationship between muscle activation of the right hand with the force produced at the fingertips in an isometric precision pinch tracking task. Thirty right-handed subjects, 15 males and 15 females, with a mean age 23.5 (SD 3.5) years, free from any neurological disorder or physical ailment, had a pair of electromyography (EMG) electrodes placed over the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle, which acts on the index finger, while performing a pinch force tracking task scaled to 20% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). The tracking task was chosen because it created a continuously increasing force application to 20% MVC and then decreasing force release from 20% MVC at a prescribed rate in both cases of 6.66% MVC force per second. In addition to showing increases in EMG activation of the FDI with increases in force, the results revealed that muscle activation for a given force level was generally greater for force application than for force release. This may be due dynamics of muscle contraction or to patterns of multiple muscle coordination.