Understanding the degree of leg stiffness during human movement would provide important information that may be used for injury prevention. In the current study, we investigated bilateral differences in leg stiffness during one-legged hopping. Ten male participants performed one-legged hopping in place, matching metronome beats at 1.5, 2.2, and 3.0 Hz. Based on a spring-mass model, we calculated leg stiffness, which is defined as the ratio of maximal ground reaction force to maximum center of mass displacement at the middle of the stance phase, measured from vertical ground reaction force. In all hopping frequency settings, there was no significant difference in leg stiffness between legs. Although not statistically significant, asymmetry was the greatest at 1.5 Hz, followed by 2.2 and 3.0 Hz for all dependent variables. Furthermore, the number of subjects with an asymmetry greater than the 10% criterion was larger at 1.5 Hz than those at 2.2 and 3.0 Hz. These results will assist in the formulation of treatment-specific training regimes and rehabilitation programs for lower extremity injuries.
Hiroaki Hobara (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Rehabilitation for the Movement Functions, Research Institute of the National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. Koh Inoue is with the Graduate School of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. Kazuyuki Kanosue is with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan.