Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Susan H.N. Jeno


Muscles -- physiology; Posture


Knee injuries are among the most common injuries seen in a physical therapy clinic. Nearly all rehabilitation programs following a knee injury involve quadriceps muscle strengthening. One popular and safe method of quadriceps strengthening often used is the wall slide. There is, however, debate and little research indicating whether or not changing the foot position used during wall slides alters the muscle activity during this exercise.

The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of the muscle activity during wall slides with feet in various positions so that more accurate rehabilitation protocols may be developed in the physical therapy clinic.

Thirty participants without previous history of knee pathologies were recruited to participate in this study. The subjects were asked to perform a series of 5 wall slides in 3 different foot positions. These positions were indicated by placing marks on non-skid floor mats. Foi" the first position, subjects were asked to line up their second toe and heal with a line perpendicular to the wall. Position 2 was performed by having the subjects rotate their feet so that their second toe lined up with a line 30 degrees inward from the first line with resultant hip internal rotation. The third position was obtained in the same way as the second position, with the only difference being that rotation was done in an outward direction. These 3 positions were referred to as neutral rotation, 30 degrees of internal rotation, and 30 degrees of external rotation. The order of these positions was randomly selected and the wall slides were performed to a knee flexion angle of 45 degrees. Electromyographic activity was recorded for the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, and anterior tibialis muscles of the subjects' dominant leg.

The results of this study indicated that there is no significant difference in EMG activity of the quadriceps muscles (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris) across foot positions. The results did, however, indicate a significant difference in EMG activity across foot positions for the anterior tibialis, biceps femoris, and gastrocnemius muscle. These results suggested that clinicians may need to address foot position during wall slides when these muscles are involved following a knee injury. The results also suggested that the patient's foot position during a wall slide is not an important factor to consider when developing a rehabilitation program for quadriceps muscle strengthening following a knee injury. Allowing the patient to perform the wall slide in a position of comfort should then be the clinician's main concern.