Considerable variability in tibial acceleration slope (AS) values, and different interpretations of injury risk based on these values, have been reported. Acceleration slope variability may be due in part to variations in the quantification methods used. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to quantify differences in tibial AS values determined using end points at various percentage ranges between impact and peak tibial acceleration, as a function of either amplitude or time. Tibial accelerations were recorded from 20 participants (21.8 ± 2.9 years, 1.7 m ± 0.1 m, 75.1 kg ± 17.0 kg) during 24 unshod heel impacts using a human pendulum apparatus. Nine ranges were tested from 5–95% (widest range) to 45–55% (narrowest range) at 5% increments. ASAmplitude values increased consistently from the widest to narrowest ranges, whereas the ASTime values remained essentially the same. The magnitudes of ASAmplitude values were significantly higher and more sensitive to changes in percentage range than ASTime values derived from the same impact data. This study shows that tibial AS magnitudes are highly dependent on the method used to calculate them. Researchers are encouraged to carefully consider the method they use to calculate AS so that equivalent comparisons and assessments of injury risk across studies can be made.
The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.