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Rogerio Pessoto Hirata, Alexander W. Erbs, Erik Gadsbøll, Rannvá Winther, Sanne H. Christensen, and Morten Bilde Simonsen

Dysfunction of the tibialis posterior muscle is the most common cause of adult acquired flat foot. Tibialis posterior muscle weakness has been observed in several patient populations, including those in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. However, the influence of tibialis posterior weakness on gait mechanics is not fully understood, although gait instability has been reported. In 24 healthy participants, 3-dimension lower limb kinematics and kinetics during walking were evaluated bilaterally, before and after, a muscle fatigue protocol aiming to decrease the right foot adductor muscles strength, including the tibialis posterior muscle. The 3-dimension gait kinematics and kinetics were analyzed with statistical parametric mapping. The stance phase duration was increased for the right side. The right ankle external rotation moment decreased, and the left hip extension moment increased with reduced muscle strength compared with normal strength conditions. These changes are similar in patients with dysfunction in the tibialis posterior muscle, indicating that compensatory strategies observed in these patients might be related to the loss of tibialis posterior muscle strength. Such strategies may involve the unaffected side.

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Jan Urbaczka, Dominik Vilimek, and Daniel Jandacka

The study purpose was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the Achilles tendon (AT) length, moment arm length, and the foot strike pattern (FP) change during an exhaustive run (EXR) in nonrearfoot FP runners. Twenty-eight runners were recruited and divided into 2 groups (highly trained/moderately trained) according to their weekly training volume. Participants underwent the graded exercise test, the EXR with biomechanical analysis at the beginning, and at the end, and the magnetic resonance imaging scan of the AT. Correlations were used to assess associations between FP change (value of the difference between end and beginning) and the selected performance and AT variables. AT length significantly correlated with the FP change according to foot strike angle (r = −.265, P = .049). The AT moment arm length significantly correlated with the FP change according to strike index during EXR (r = −.536, P = .003). Multiple regression showed that AT length was a significant predictor for the FP change according to foot strike angle if the second predictor was the graded exercise test duration and the third predictor was training group association. These results suggest that a runner’s training volume, along with a longer AT and AT moment arm appear to be associated with the ability to maintain a consistent FP during EXR by nonrearfoot FP runners.

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Michael J. Asmussen, Glen A. Lichtwark, and Jayishni N. Maharaj

Humans have the remarkable ability to run over variable terrains. During locomotion, however, humans are unstable in the mediolateral direction and this instability must be controlled actively—a goal that could be achieved in more ways than one. Walking research indicates that the subtalar joint absorbs energy in early stance and returns it in late stance, an attribute that is credited to the tibialis posterior muscle-tendon unit. The purpose of this study was to determine how humans (n = 11) adapt to mediolateral perturbations induced by custom-made 3D-printed “footwear” that either enhanced or reduced pronation of the subtalar joint (modeled as motion in 3 planes) while running (3 m/s). In all conditions, the subtalar joint absorbed energy (ie, negative mechanical work) in early stance followed by an immediate return of energy (ie, positive mechanical work) in late stance, demonstrating a “spring-like” behavior. These effects increased and decreased in footwear conditions that enhanced or reduced pronation (P ≤ .05), respectively. Of the recorded muscles, the tibialis posterior (P ≤ .05) appeared to actively change its activation in concert with the changes in joint energetics. We suggest that the “spring-like” behavior of the subtalar joint may be an inherent function that enables the lower limb to respond to mediolateral instabilities during running.

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Jessa M. Buchman-Pearle and Stacey M. Acker

Specific participant characteristics may be leveraged to dictate marker placements which reduce soft tissue artifact; however, a better understanding of the relationships between participant characteristics and soft tissue artifact are first required. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy in which measures of whole-body and thigh anthropometry could predict mislocation error of the hip joint center, tracked using skin-mounted marker clusters. Fifty participants completed squatting and kneeling, while pelvis and lower limb motion were recorded. The effect of soft tissue artifact was estimated from 6 rigid thigh marker clusters by evaluating their ability to track the position of the hip joint center most like the pelvis cluster. Eighteen backward stepwise linear regressions were performed using 10 anthropometric measures as independent variables and the mean of the peak difference between the thigh and pelvis cluster-tracked hip joint centers. Fourteen models significantly predicted error with low to moderate fit (R = .38–.67), explaining 14% to 45% of variation. Partial correlations indicated that soft tissue artifact may increase with soft tissue volume and be altered by local soft tissue composition. However, it is not recommended that marker placement be adjusted based on anthropometry alone.

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Todd C. Pataky

Biomechanical trajectories are often routed through a chain of processing steps prior to statistical analysis. As changes in processing parameter values can affect these trajectories, care is required when choosing data processing specifics. The purpose of this Research Note was to demonstrate a simple way to propagate data processing parameter uncertainty to statistical inferences regarding biomechanical trajectories. As an example application, the correlation between foot contact duration and vertical ground reaction force during constant-speed treadmill walking was considered. Uncertainty was modeled using plausible-range uniform distributions in three data processing steps, and Monte Carlo simulation was used to construct probabilistic representations of both individual vertical ground reaction force measurements and the ultimate statistical results. Whereas an initial, plausible set of parameter values yielded a significant correlation between contact duration and late-stance vertical ground reaction force, Monte Carlo simulations revealed strong sensitivity, with “significance” being reached in fewer than 40% of simulations, with relatively little net effect of parameter uncertainty magnitude. These results indicate that propagating processing parameter uncertainty to statistical results promotes a cautious, nuanced, and robust view of observed effects. By extension, Monte Carlo simulations may yield greater interpretive consistency across studies involving data processing uncertainties.

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Mindy F. Levin and Daniele Piscitelli

There is a lack of conceptual and theoretical clarity among clinicians and researchers regarding the control of motor actions based on the use of the term “motor control.” It is important to differentiate control processes from observations of motor output to improve communication and to make progress in understanding motor disorders and their remediation. This article clarifies terminology related to theoretical concepts underlying the control of motor actions, emphasizing how the term “motor control” is applied in neurorehabilitation. Two major opposing theoretical frameworks are described (i.e., direct and indirect), and their strengths and pitfalls are discussed. Then, based on the proposition that sensorimotor rehabilitation should be predicated on one comprehensive theory instead of an eclectic mix of theories and models, several solutions are offered about how to address controversies in motor learning, optimality, and adaptability of movement.

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Abigail G. Swenson, Bari A. Schunicht, Nicholas S. Pritchard, Logan E. Miller, Jillian E. Urban, and Joel D. Stitzel

Hockey is a fast-paced sport known for body checking, or intentional collisions used to separate opponents from the puck. Exposure to these impacts is concerning, as evidence suggests head impact exposure (HIE), even if noninjurious, can cause long-term brain changes. Currently, there is limited understanding of the effect of impact direction and collision speed on HIE. Video analysis was used to determine speed and direction for 162 collisions from 13 youth athletes. These data were paired with head kinematic data collected with an instrumented mouthpiece. Relationships between peak resultant head kinematics and speeds were evaluated with linear regression. Mean athlete speeds and relative velocity between athletes ranged from 2.05 to 2.76 m/s. Mean peak resultant linear acceleration, rotational velocity, and rotational acceleration were 13.1 g, 10.5 rad/s, and 1112 rad/s2, respectively. Significant relationships between speeds and head kinematics emerged when stratified by contact characteristics. HIE also varied by direction of collision; most collisions occurred in the forward-oblique (ie, offset from center) direction; frontal collisions had the greatest magnitude peak kinematics. These findings indicate that HIE in youth hockey is influenced by speed and direction of impact. This study may inform future strategies to reduce the severity of HIE in hockey.

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William Anderst, Shaquille Charles, Milad Zarei, Ashika Mani, Naomi Frankston, Elliott Hammersley, Gehui Zhang, MaCalus Hogan, and Robert T. Krafty

Studies of human movement usually collect data from multiple repetitions of a task and use the average of all movement trials to approximate the typical kinematics or kinetics pattern for each individual. Few studies report the expected accuracy of these estimated mean kinematics or kinetics waveforms for each individual. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how simultaneous confidence bands, which is an approach to quantify uncertainty across an entire waveform based on limited data, can be used to calculate margin of error (MOE) for waveforms. Bilateral plantar pressure data were collected from 70 participants as they walked over 4 surfaces for an average of at least 300 steps per surface. The relationship between MOE and the number of steps included in the analysis was calculated using simultaneous confidence bands, and 3 methods commonly used for pointwise estimates: intraclass correlation, sequential averaging, and T-based MOE. The conventional pointwise approaches underestimated the number of trials required to estimate biomechanical waveforms within a desired MOE. Simultaneous confidence bands are an objective approach to more accurately estimate the relationship between the number of trials collected and the MOE in estimating typical biomechanical waveforms.

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Tim L.A. Doyle, AuraLea C. Fain, Jodie A. Wills, Daniel Cooper, Kevin Toonen, and Benjamin Kamphius

The diverse and grueling nature of activities undertaken during Special Forces selection makes it difficult to develop physical training to improve performance and reduce injury risk. It is generally accepted that increased strength is protective against injury, but it is unclear if this is evident in a Special Forces selection environment. This study investigated the effect of the rigors of a Special Forces selection course has on performance of the isometric mid-thigh pull, countermovement jump, squat jump, drop landing, elastic utilization ratio (EUR), and injury occurrence. Throughout the course, 26% of participants sustained a preventable lower limb injury, with 65% of these occurring at the knee. The uninjured had higher values of absolute strength as measured by isometric mid-thigh pull peak absolute force (3399 [371] N, 3146 [307] N; P = .022) and lower EUR (0.94 [0.08], 1.01 [0.09]; P = .025) compared to the injured. Preventable knee injury was significantly correlated with isometric mid-thigh pull (r = −.245, P = .031) and EUR (r = .227, P = .044). The selection course altered EUR for uninjured individuals only (P = .004). Findings indicate that individuals with higher strength levels may be at a lower risk of injury than their weaker counterparts.