Effects of Acute Graded Strain on Efferent Conduction Properties in the Rabbit Tibial Nerve

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This study examines effects of acute stretch on electrophysiologic properties of rabbit tibial nerve. Compound motor action potentials (CMAP) were measured in 30 rabbits, during and after two hours of acute, graded strain. The rabbits were assigned to one of three groups defined by the degree of stretch (0%, 8%, or 15%) beyond original resting length. These groups were subdivided according to ankle position during nerve strain (ankle dorsiflexion or ankle plantar flexion). Two hours of 8% strain did not significantly decrease CMAP amplitude. Fifteen percent strain with the ankle in dorsiflexion produced a significant and profound drop (99%) in CMAP amplitude. These findings are clinically relevant to nerve stretch injuries and to surgical procedures that induce acute nerve strain.

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