a realistic noninvasive method for assessment of muscle activity and coordination in human subjects in most home and sports settings
Muscle sound gives a local picture of muscles involved in a particular movement and is independent of electrical signals between nerve and muscle. Sound recording (acoustic myography) is a well-known noninvasive technique that has suffered from not being easily applicable, as well as not being able to register at sufficient sampling speed. With modern amplifiers and digital sound recording this has changed, and such assessment during movement outside a laboratory setting may be possible. Our aim was to develop a setup for muscle-sound assessment, which could be reliably applied in any local setting. A group of healthy subjects were assessed during standing, stair climbing, walking, and running. Piezoelectric microphones were applied to the skin using contact gel. A digital sound recorder enabled sampling speeds of around 96,000 Hz. Surface electromyography was measured in parallel as a comparison. The recorded signals were assessed and described in terms of signal frequency (Hz) and peak-to-peak amplitude (mV) using Chart software. Bioimpedance of the involved muscles was measured. Sound recording was shown to be an easy noninvasive method for assessment of muscle function during movement with the possibility of being applied in most clinical, sports, and home settings. Muscle sound gives a representation of the work of each muscle group during a complex movement, illustrated here by a step test, which revealed both concentric and eccentric activity. The method in the presented new setup has great potential for assessment of function in patients with musculoskeletal complaints in out-of-clinic settings, as well as in sports.