Joint Torques and Patellofemoral Force During Single-Leg Assisted and Unassisted Cycling

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Unassisted single-leg cycling should be replaced by assisted single-leg cycling, given that this last approach has potential to mimic joint kinetics and kinematics from double-leg cycling. However, there is need to test if assisting devices during pedaling effectively replicate joint forces and torque from double-leg cycling.

Objectives:

To compare double-leg, single-leg assisted, and unassisted cycling in terms of lower-limb kinetics and kinematics.

Design:

Cross-sectional crossover.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

14 healthy nonathletes.

Interventions:

Two double-leg cycling trials (240 ± 23 W) and 2 single-leg trials (120 ± 11 W) at 90 rpm were performed for 2 min using a bicycle attached to a cycle trainer. Measurements of pedal force and joint kinematics of participants’ right lower limb were performed during double- and single-leg trials. For the single-leg assisted trial, a custom-made adaptor was used to attach 10 kg of weight to the contralateral crank.

Main Outcome Measures:

Peak hip, knee, and ankle torques (flexors and extensors) along with knee-flexion angle and peak patellofemoral compressive force.

Results:

Reduced peak hip-extensor torque (10%) and increased peak knee-flexor torque (157%) were observed at the single-leg assisted cycling compared with the double-leg cycling. No differences were found for peak patellofemoral compressive force or knee-flexion angle comparing double-leg with single-leg assisted cycling. However, single-leg unassisted cycling resulted in larger peak patellofemoral compressive force (28%) and lower knee-flexion angle (3%) than double-leg cycling.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that although single-leg assisted cycling differs for joint torques, it replicates knee loads from double-leg cycling.

The authors are with the Exercise Research Laboratory, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Address author correspondence to Rodrigo Bini at bini.rodrigo@gmail.com.