During seated forward reaching tasks in obese individuals, excessive abdominal tissue can come into contact with the anterior thigh. This soft tissue apposition acts as a mechanical restriction, altering functional biomechanics at the hip, and causing difficulty in certain daily activities such as bending down, or picking up objects from the floor. The purpose of the study was to investigate the contact forces and associated moments exerted by the abdomen on the thigh during seated forward-reaching tasks in adult obese individuals. Ten healthy subjects (age 58.1 ± 4.4) with elevated BMI (39.04 ± 5.02) participated in the study. Contact pressures between the abdomen and thigh were measured using a Tekscan Conformat pressure-mapping sensor during forward-reaching tasks. Kinematic and force plate data were obtained using an infrared motion capture system. The mean abdomen-thigh contact force was 10.17 ± 5.18% of body weight, ranging from 57.8 N to 200 N. Net extensor moment at the hip decreased by mean 16.5 ± 6.44% after accounting for the moment generated by abdomen-thigh tissue contact. In obese individuals, abdomen-thigh contact decreases the net moment at the hip joint during seated forward-reaching activities. This phenomenon should be taken into consideration for accurate biomechanical modeling in these individuals.
Bhupinder Singh (Corresponding Author) is now with the Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Fresno, CA. Thomas D. Brown is with the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, John J. Callaghan is with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and H. John Yack is with the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.