Muscular and kinematic features in speed skaters indicate a task-specific dystonia

Beorn Nijenhuis*, Marina A.J. Tijssen, Tim van Zutphen, Jan Willem Elting, Aron H.P. Schalkwijk, Egbert Otten, Jeroen van der Eb

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Skater's cramp is a movement disorder in speed skaters. We investigated whether affected skaters matched the disease profile of task-specific dystonia, specifically whether there was evidence of maladaptive muscle activity occurring simultaneously with aberrant movements (jerking). We further examined different skating intensities, positing no change would be more indicative of task-specific dystonia. Methods: We analyzed video, kinematic and muscle activity in 14 affected skaters. We measured the angular velocity and electromyographic activity of normalized speed skating strokes using one dimensional statistical non-parametric mapping. Skaters were matched with comparably skilled controls, and filled out a bespoke clinical questionnaire. Results: Skaters’ impacted leg showed over-activation in the peroneus longus, tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius that coincided with higher foot movement compared to their healthy leg and controls. This pattern persisted regardless of skating intensity. Clinical features indicated it was task-specific and painless with common trigger factors including stress, equipment change, and falling. Conclusions: We showed aberrant muscular and kinematic activity in a movement disorder in speed skaters indicative of task-specific dystonia. Significance: Understanding skater's cramp as a task-specific dystonia could reduce the damage that misdiagnosis and unsuccessful invasive operations have caused. Our quantitative method has value in testing future treatment efficacy.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)113-120
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftClinical Neurophysiology
StatusPublished - mei-2023

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