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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 March;57(3):313-8

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.05941-7


language: English

Nerve conduction studies in lower limb of elite Nepalese football players: an insight into neural adaptations

Deepak SHARMA 1, Bishnu H. PAUDEL 2, Rita KHADKA 2, Dilip THAKUR 2, Dev K. SHAH 1, Niraj K. SAPKOTA 1, Ram L. YADAV 1, Prakash K. YADAV 1

1 Chitwan Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Bharatpur, Nepal; 2 BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal


BACKGROUND: The study was aimed to assess somatic neural alterations in lower limbs of elite Nepalese football players by comparing their nerve conduction parameters with non-athletic controls.
METHODS: Players (N.=27, age 22.74±2.52 yrs.) with excellent cardio-respiratory fitness and presenting no signs of injuries, and sedentary controls (N.=29, age 23.41±2.95 yrs.) were recruited for the study. Standard nerve conduction techniques were applied to evaluate posterior tibial and sural nerves in the dominant and non-dominant limbs of each individual. Conduction velocity, onset latency, amplitude and duration of the motor and sensory evoked responses were recorded.
RESULTS: The players had significantly lower resting mean heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure than controls. Tibial compound muscle action potential (CMAP) showed higher amplitude as compared to controls; tibial proximal CMAP amplitude [(13.624±4.57) vs. (10.810±4.62) mV, P=0.035] of dominant leg, tibial proximal [(13.893±4.60) vs. (11.083±4.51) mV, P=0.045] and distal [(16.388±3.62) vs. (13.958±4.65) mV, P=0.049] amplitude of non-dominant leg. Likewise, players had significantly shorter tibial CMAPs duration of each lower limb compared with corresponding limb of controls. Sural nerve of non-dominant leg revealed shortened sensory nerve action potential duration [(1.729±0.25) vs. (1.904±0.289) ms, P=0.018].
CONCLUSIONS: Increased tibial CMAP amplitude and decreased CMAP duration in players suggest excitation of more number of motor units and higher synchronicity of muscle fibers’ discharge than in controls respectively. Higher amplitude can also be attributed to increase in muscle fiber size and/or efficiency of neuromuscular transmission. Increased synchronicity indirectly reflects narrow range of conduction velocity among tibial neurons. The adaptive changes in somatic nerves need more crucial research for exact identification of sites and the structures responsible.

KEY WORDS: Lower extremity - Football - Athletes - Neural conduction

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