Friday, July 26, 2013

Neuromechanical Adaptations Following Trampoline Use

Have you ever heard of "trampoline aftereffect"?  It is that sensation that you have after jumping on a trampoline.  You get off the trampoline and your legs feel a little woozy or jelly like.  Pediatric therapy sessions that include motor skill development or sensory processing skills may include trampoline activities.  Did you know that after jumping on a trampoline there are specific neuromechanical adaptations?  Research that was conducted in 15 adults indicated that following jumping on an elastic surface the following was recorded:
  • significant increase in EMG activity of knee extensors during the eccentric phase of the jump and significant increase in co-activation around the ankle jump during the concentric phase of the jump
  • significant increase in leg stiffness
  • significant decrease in jump height
The researchers suspect that the changes may be due to errors in sensory feedback comparing the elastic surface to the rigid surface.

This is small but important information when planing a therapy session that conjured up some questions for me.  When do you use a trampoline?  At times it is used for proprioceptive input, endurance activities or as a precursor to learning how to jump on the floor.  Although this study was done with adults, we can take some information and perhaps avoid testing any jumping skills following the use of a trampoline since the research indicated a decrease in jump height and increase in leg stiffness.  Does muscle stiffness increase in children with hypotonicity following jumping on a trampoline? 

If (and I say IF) there are errors in sensory feedback following jumping on an elastic surface are trampolines the best proprioceptive input for children with sensory processing disorder?

Reference: Márquez G, Aguado X, Alegre LM, Férnandez-Del-Olmo M. Neuromechanical adaptation induced by jumping on an elastic surface. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):62-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.06.012. Epub 2012 Aug 9. 



loub84 said...

Not sure re being the best prop. input but i do think trampolines in theory should help activate children with low muscle tone? and in some instances help alert/arouse to the just right level. I think adult stiffness is so different to a childs that its too difficult to compare!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how soon after the jumping did they test and find these stated results? Also,did they retest hours later to see if these results lasted in that time frame? In people with low muscle tone, some of the stiffness might not be so bad. I do agree that adult stiffness is different to that of a child's.

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

I would like to see what trampoline aftereffect is when using a mini trampoline. Therapists frequently use mini trampolines and the effect may be different.

I agree that an adults reaction may be different than a child's but even neurotypical kids get off a trampoline and report that their legs feel weird when walking on solid ground again.

Dr. Pullen said...

Is there any data on the safety of using trampolines in therapy. I see lots of significant injuries from trampoline use, and it seems counterintuitive to use them in thearpy for kids? said...

Good article - made me think a little. I often recommend and use trampolining for proprioceptive input and certainly see good changes. Anecdotal I know, but I plan to continue. We all feel funny jumping on solid ground after being on a springy surface - it's how quickly we can recalibrate our sensory feedback to adjust to the new surface that is important I think. So providing different surfaces may "wake up" the proprioceptive system to novel stimuli???

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Not sure about safety data about trampoline use in therapy sessions. I would guess there is nothing. But I would also state that many trampoline injuries come when children are unsupervised. In a therapy session the children are usually highly supervised.

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Thank you for all of these comments. I love a good discussion.

WiredOnDevelopment - "how quickly we can recalibrate our sensory feedback to adjust to the new surface that is important I think" That is exactly what I wonder about with this research. For children who have sensory deficits, is the use of the trampoline causing a delay in adjusting sensory feedback. Would make a very interesting research study.

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