Reflex activity of pelvic floor muscles during drop landings and mini-trampolining-exploratory study

Complex functional movements such as jumping typically provoke stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. The aim of this study was to investigate pelvic floor muscle (PFM) activity in young, healthy women during jumps to explore their activity characteristics.

Surface electromyography (EMG) from PFMs was measured in 16 healthy women with a tripolar vaginal probe during drop landings from heights of 15, 30 and 45 cm (DL 15, 30, 45) as well as during mini-trampolining with a pace of 90 and 75 jumps per minute (MT 90, 75). Time of foot strike and body weight force (BWF) in % (= ground reaction force, normalised to body weight) was determined by force plates. Root mean square values of the EMG signals were analyzed from 30 ms before to 150 ms after foot strike. Peak activity during maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) was set as 100% for EMG normalization. The PFM onset threshold was determined as the mean of rest activity plus 2 standard deviations. Data were analysed with non-parametric statistical methods.

EMG activity during all jumps was above the PFM onset threshold. Mean pre- and reflex activity increased significantly with jumping height (p < 0.05) as well as with increasing BWF. The PFM activation pattern of DL was with peak activity of 115-182 %MVC between 34 and 44 ms after foot strike, which was different from MT with peak PFM activity of 85-115 %MVC reached at 133 ms.

Jumping and mini-trampolining provoked significant PFM activity in healthy volunteers. The next research step will be to examine the PFM activity of women suffering from SUI during jumps.

International urogynecology journal. 2018 May 24 [Epub ahead of print]

Patricia Wassmer Saeuberli, Anja Schraknepper, Patric Eichelberger, Helena Luginbuehl, Lorenz Radlinger

School of Health Professions, Institute of Physiotherapy, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland. ., Department of Health Professions, Division of Physiotherapy, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Bern, Switzerland.