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Increasing Breast Support is Associated With a Distal-to-Proximal Redistribution of Joint Negative Work During a Double-Limb Landing Task

Hailey B. Fong, Alexis K. Nelson, Deirdre McGhee, Kevin R. Ford, and Douglas W. Powell

Female athletes exhibit greater rates of anterior cruciate ligament injury compared with male athletes. Biomechanical factors are suggested to contribute to sex differences in injury rates. No previous investigation has evaluated the role of breast support on landing biomechanics. This study investigates the effect of breast support on joint negative work and joint contributions to total negative work during landing. Thirty-five female athletes performed 5 landing trials in 3 breast support conditions. Lower-extremity joint negative work and relative joint contributions to total negative work were calculated. Univariate analyses of variance were used to determine the effect of breast support on negative joint work values. Increasing levels of breast support were associated with lower ankle negative work (P < .001) and ankle relative contributions (P < .001) and increases in hip negative work (P = .008) and hip relative contributions (P < .001). No changes were observed in total negative work (P = .759), knee negative work (P = .059), or knee contributions to negative work (P = .094). These data demonstrate that the level of breast support affects lower-extremity biomechanics. The distal-to-proximal shift in negative joint work and relative joint contributions may be indicative of a more protective landing strategy for anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

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Quantitative Muscle Fascicle Tractography Using Brightness-Mode Ultrasound

Hannah Kilpatrick, Emily Bush, Carly Lockard, Xingyu Zhou, Crystal Coolbaugh, and Bruce Damon

A muscle’s architecture, defined as the geometric arrangement of its fibers with respect to its mechanical line of action, impacts its abilities to produce force and shorten or lengthen under load. Ultrasound and other noninvasive imaging methods have contributed significantly to our understanding of these structure–function relationships. The goal of this work was to develop a MATLAB toolbox for tracking and mathematically representing muscle architecture at the fascicle scale, based on brightness-mode ultrasound imaging data. The MuscleUS_Toolbox allows user-performed segmentation of a region of interest and automated modeling of local fascicle orientation; calculation of streamlines between aponeuroses of origin and insertion; and quantification of fascicle length, pennation angle, and curvature. A method is described for optimizing the fascicle orientation modeling process, and the capabilities of the toolbox for quantifying and visualizing fascicle architecture are illustrated in the human tibialis anterior muscle. The toolbox is freely available.

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The Vehicle Seating Intervention Trial: Cross-Over Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Impact of 2 Car Seat Configurations on Spinal Posture

Diana De Carvalho, Kristi Randhawa, Leslie Verville, Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, Samuel J. Howarth, Carmen Liang, Silvano Mior, and Pierre Côté

Driving posture can lead to musculoskeletal pain. Most work focuses on the lower back; therefore, we know little about automobile seat design and neck posture. This study evaluated an automobile driver seat that individualized upper back support to improve head and neck posture. Specifically, we examined the system’s impact on anterior head translation with secondary outcomes of spine posture and perceptions of comfort/well-being compared with a control. Forty participants were block randomized to experience either the activated or deactivated version of the same seating system first. Participants completed two 30-minute simulated driving trials, separated by washout, with continuous measures of anterior head translation, spine posture, and pelvis orientation. Perceptions of comfort/well-being were assessed by survey and open-ended questions immediately following each condition. Small, but statistically significant decreases in anterior head translation and posterior pelvic tilt occurred with the activated seat system. Participants reported lower satisfaction with the activated seat system. Order of the 2 seat conditions affected differences in pelvis orientation and participant perceptions of comfort/well-being. An anthropometric-based seat system targeting upper back support can significantly affect head and pelvic posture but not satisfaction during simulated driving. Future work should examine long-term impacts of these posture changes on health outcomes.

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Volume 39 (2023): Issue 5 (Oct 2023): Special Issue: International Society of Biomechanics: 50 years of Musculoskeletal Biomechanics

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Variables Associated With Knee Valgus in Male Professional Soccer Players During a Single-Leg Vertical Landing Task

Matheus Vianna, Leonardo Metsavaht, Eliane Guadagnin, Carlos Eduardo Franciozi, Marcus Luzo, Marcio Tannure, and Gustavo Leporace

Prior studies have explored the relationship between knee valgus and musculoskeletal variables to formulate injury prevention programs, primarily for females. Nonetheless, there is insufficient evidence pertaining to professional male soccer players. Here, the aim was to test the correlation of lateral trunk inclination, hip adduction, hip internal rotation, ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, and hip isometric strength with knee valgus during the single-leg vertical jump test. Twenty-four professional male soccer players performed a single-leg vertical hop test, hip strength assessments, and an ankle dorsiflexion range of motion test. A motion analysis system was employed for kinematic analysis. Maximal isometric hip strength and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion were tested using a handheld dynamometer and a digital inclinometer, respectively. The correlation of peak knee valgus with peak lateral trunk inclination was .43 during the landing phase (P = .04) and with peak hip internal rotation was −.68 (P < .001). For knee valgus angular displacement, only peak lateral trunk inclination presented a moderate positive correlation (r = .40, P = .05). This study showed that trunk and hip kinematics are associated with knee valgus, which could consequently lead to increased knee overload in male professional soccer players following a unilateral vertical landing test.

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Reliability of Shoulder Helical Axes During Intransitive and Transitive Upper Limb Tasks

Paola Adamo, Federico Temporiti, Martina Maffeis, Francesco Bolzoni, and Roberto Gatti

Shoulder complex stability can be estimated in vivo through the analysis of helical axes (HAs) dispersion during upper limb movements. The study aimed at investigating test–retest reliability of shoulder HAs dispersion parameters during upper limb tasks. Twenty healthy volunteers performed 2 intransitive (shoulder flexion and rotation) and one transitive (combing) tasks with the dominant and nondominant upper limbs during 2 recording sessions at 1-week distance. Kinematics was detected through an optoelectronic system. Mean distance and mean angle (MA) were adopted as HAs dispersion indexes. Reliability was excellent for mean distance (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]: .91) and MA (ICC: .92) during dominant flexion, and good for MA (ICC: .90) during nondominant flexion. Moderate reliability was found for HAs parameters during rotation (ICCs from .70 to .59), except for MA during dominant rotation where reliability was poor. Reliability was good for mean distance (ICC: .83) and moderate for MA (ICC: .67) during the dominant combing task, whereas no reliability was found during the nondominant combing task. HAs dispersion parameters revealed high reliability during simple intransitive tasks with the dominant limb. Reliability decreased with the increase in task complexity due to the increase in movement variability. HAs dispersion technique could be used to assess shoulder complex stability in patients after rehabilitation or surgery.

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The History and Future of Neuromusculoskeletal Biomechanics

David G. Lloyd, Ilse Jonkers, Scott L. Delp, and Luca Modenese

The Executive Council of the International Society of Biomechanics has initiated and overseen the commemorations of the Society’s 50th Anniversary in 2023. This included multiple series of lectures at the ninth World Congress of Biomechanics in 2022 and XXIXth Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics in 2023, all linked to special issues of International Society of Biomechanics’ affiliated journals. This special issue of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics is dedicated to the biomechanics of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The reader is encouraged to explore this special issue which comprises 6 papers exploring the current state-of the-art, and future directions and roles for neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics. This editorial presents a very brief history of the science of the neuromusculoskeletal system’s 4 main components: the central nervous system, musculotendon units, the musculoskeletal system, and joints, and how they biomechanically integrate to enable an understanding of the generation and control of human movement. This also entails a quick exploration of contemporary neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics and its future with new fields of application.

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Tapping Into Skeletal Muscle Biomechanics for Design and Control of Lower Limb Exoskeletons: A Narrative Review

Zahra S. Mahdian, Huawei Wang, Mohamed Irfan Mohamed Refai, Guillaume Durandau, Massimo Sartori, and Mhairi K. MacLean

Lower limb exoskeletons and exosuits (“exos”) are traditionally designed with a strong focus on mechatronics and actuation, whereas the “human side” is often disregarded or minimally modeled. Muscle biomechanics principles and skeletal muscle response to robot-delivered loads should be incorporated in design/control of exos. In this narrative review, we summarize the advances in literature with respect to the fusion of muscle biomechanics and lower limb exoskeletons. We report methods to measure muscle biomechanics directly and indirectly and summarize the studies that have incorporated muscle measures for improved design and control of intuitive lower limb exos. Finally, we delve into articles that have studied how the human–exo interaction influences muscle biomechanics during locomotion. To support neurorehabilitation and facilitate everyday use of wearable assistive technologies, we believe that future studies should investigate and predict how exoskeleton assistance strategies would structurally remodel skeletal muscle over time. Real-time mapping of the neuromechanical origin and generation of muscle force resulting in joint torques should be combined with musculoskeletal models to address time-varying parameters such as adaptation to exos and fatigue. Development of smarter predictive controllers that steer rather than assist biological components could result in a synchronized human–machine system that optimizes the biological and electromechanical performance of the combined system.

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Tibiofemoral Load Magnitude and Distribution During Load Carriage

Blake W. Jones, John D. Willson, Paul DeVita, and Ryan D. Wedge

Chronic exposure to high tibiofemoral joint (TFJ) contact forces can be detrimental to knee joint health. Load carriage increases TFJ contact forces, but it is unclear whether medial and lateral tibiofemoral compartments respond similarly to incremental load carriage. The purpose of our study was to compare TFJ contact forces when walking with 15% and 30% added body weight. Young healthy adults (n = 24) walked for 5 minutes with no load, 15% load, and 30% load on an instrumented treadmill. Total, medial, and lateral TFJ contact peak forces and impulses were calculated via an inverse dynamics informed musculoskeletal model. Results of 1-way repeated measures analyses of variance (α = .05) demonstrated total, medial, and lateral TFJ first peak contact forces and impulses increased significantly with increasing load. Orthogonal polynomial trends demonstrated that the 30% loading condition led to a curvilinear increase in total and lateral TFJ impulses, whereas medial first peak TFJ contact forces and impulses responded linearly to increasing load. The total and lateral compartment impulse increased disproportionally with load carriage, while the medial did not. The medial and lateral compartments responded differently to increasing load during walking, warranting further investigation because it may relate to risk of osteoarthritis.

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The Influence of Multiple Pregnancies on Gait Asymmetry: A Case Study

Aude S. Lefranc, Glenn K. Klute, and Richard R. Neptune

Gait asymmetry is a predictor of fall risk and may contribute to increased falls during pregnancy. Previous work indicates that pregnant women experience asymmetric joint laxity and pelvic tilt during standing and asymmetric joint moments and angles during walking. How these changes translate to other measures of gait asymmetry remains unclear. Thus, the purpose of this case study was to determine the relationships between pregnancy progression, subsequent pregnancies, and gait asymmetry. Walking data were collected from an individual during 2 consecutive pregnancies during the second and third trimesters and 6 months postpartum of her first pregnancy and the first, second, and third trimesters and 6 months postpartum of her second pregnancy. Existing asymmetries in step length, anterior–posterior (AP) impulses, AP peak ground reaction forces, lateral impulses, and joint work systematically increased as her pregnancy progressed. These changes in asymmetry may be attributed to pelvic asymmetry, leading to asymmetric hip flexor and extensor length, or due to asymmetric plantar flexor strength, as suggested by her ankle work asymmetry. Relative to her first pregnancy, she had greater asymmetry in step length, step width, braking AP impulse, propulsive AP impulse, and peak braking AP ground reaction force during her second pregnancy, which may have resulted from increased joint laxity.