Foot sole cutaneous stimulation mitigates neuromuscular fatigue during a sustained plantar flexor isometric task with intermittent maximal voluntary contractions
Neuromuscular fatigue induces changes in motor coordination, movement stability, and proprioception, which further affects performance. Coupling exists between foot sole cutaneous mechanoreceptors and motoneurons of the lower limb, however, the contribution of skin sensory input on muscle fatigue remains unclear. This thesis aims to determine whether foot sole cutaneous stimulation alters fatigability and recovery of the plantar flexor muscles. Participants underwent an isometric plantar flexor fatiguing task with intermittent maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) in a seated posture until failure. Throughout the protocol, electrical stimulation was applied to either the right heel, right metatarsal, left arm, or no stimulation. MVCs were conducted intermittently throughout recovery. Foot sole cutaneous stimulation mitigated fatigue with stimulation on either the heel or metatarsal regions. Recovery was not altered by stimulation. The results suggest that cutaneous stimulation may serve as a feasible target to mitigate fatigue.