This study aimed to gain insight into the individual and interactive effects of segmental mass proportions and coupling properties on external loading in simulated forefoot landings. An evaluated four-segment wobbling mass model replicated forefoot drop landings (height: 0.46 m) performed by two subjects. A comparison of the peak impact forces (GFzmax) produced during the evaluated landing and further simulated landings performed using modified (±5% perturbation) mass proportions and coupling properties was made. Independent segmental mass proportion changes, particularly in the upper body, produced a prominent change in GFzmax of up to 0.32 bodyweight (BW) whereas independent mass coupling stiffness and damping alterations had less effect on GFzmax (change in GFzmax of up to 0.18 BW). When combining rigid mass proportion reductions with damping modifications, an additional GFzmax attenuation of up to 0.13 BW was produced. An individual may be predisposed to high loading and traumatic and overuse injury during forefoot landings owing to their inherent inertia profile. Subject-specific neuromuscular modifications to mass coupling properties may not be beneficial in overriding the increased forces associated with larger rigid mass proportions.
Gittoes and Kerwin are with the Cardiff School of Sport, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, U.K.