Volume 39 (2023): Issue 6 (Dec 2023)
The Biomechanics Research and Innovation Challenge: Development, Implementation, Uptake, and Reflections on the Inaugural Program
Celeste E. Coltman, Martina Barzan, Manuela Besomi, Victoria Brackley, Jaquelin A. Bousie, Julie Choisne, Laura E. Diamond, Taylor J.M. Dick, Nicole D’Souza, Samantha Fien, Alycia Fong Yan, Sheridan A. Gho, Alexandra Giraldo-Pedroza, Laura A. Hutchinson, Laura V. Hutchison, Crystal O. Kean, Maddison M. Kirk, Amy Lewis, Jayishini N. Maharaj, Nina Maher, Kerry J. Mann, Suzanne Martin, Karen J. Mickle, Azadeh Nasseri, Isobel H. Oon, Rory Purdie, Shayan L. Quinlan, Ceridwen R. Radcliffe, Suzanne J. Snodgrass, Siddharth Verma, and Michelle Hall
Biomechanics as a discipline is ideally placed to increase awareness and participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A nationwide Biomechanics and Research Innovation Challenge (BRInC) centered on mentoring and role modeling was developed to engage high school girls (mentees) and early-mid-career women (mentors) in the field of biomechanics through the completion of a 100-day research and/or innovation project. This manuscript describes the development, implementation, and uptake of the inaugural BRInC program and synthesizes the research and innovation projects undertaken, providing a framework for adoption of this program within the global biomechanics community. Eighty-seven high school girls in years 9 and 10 (age range: 14–16 y) were mentored in teams (n = 17) by women in biomechanics (n = 24). Using a design thinking approach, teams generated solutions to biomechanics-based problem(s)/research question(s). Eight key reflections on program strengths, as well as areas for improvement and planned changes for future iterations of the BRInC program, are outlined. These key reflections highlight the innovation, impact, and scalability of the program; the importance of a program framework and effective communication tools; and implementation of strategies to sustain the program as well as the importance of diversity and building a sense of community.
The Combined Influence of Infant Carrying Method and Motherhood on Gait Mechanics
Kathryn L. Havens, Sarah Goldrod, and Erin M. Mannen
Postpartum mothers are susceptible to lumbopelvic pain which may be exacerbated by loading, like carrying their infant in arms and with baby carriers. Nulliparous women carrying infant mannequins may biomechanically mimic mother–infant dyad, but this has not been studied. The purpose of our study was to investigate biomechanical differences of 10 mothers carrying their infants and 10 nulliparous women carrying infant mannequins under 3 gait conditions: carrying nothing, carrying in arms, and carrying in a baby carrier (babywearing). Spatiotemporal gait parameters, peak ground reaction forces and impulses, and lower extremity and trunk kinematics were collected using motion capture and force plates and compared using a mixed 2 × 3 (parity × condition) analysis of variance (α ≤ .05). The largest differences occurred between carrying conditions: carrying in arms or babywearing increased vertical and anteroposterior ground reaction forces, trunk extension, ankle dorsiflexion, and hip and knee flexion. Kinematic differences were identified between arms and babywearing conditions. Together this suggests alterations in joint loading for both groups. Our study also contributes a novel understanding of postpartum health by demonstrating alterations in step time, anterior forces, and ankle and knee mechanics, suggesting that during gait, mothers carrying their own infants choose different propulsive strategies than nulliparous women carrying mannequins.
Sex-Related Differences in Shoulder Complex Joint Dynamics Variability During Pediatric Manual Wheelchair Propulsion
Joshua M. Leonardis, Alyssa J. Schnorenberg, Lawrence C. Vogel, Gerald F. Harris, and Brooke A. Slavens
More than 80% of adult manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injuries will experience shoulder pain. Females and those with decreased shoulder dynamics variability are more likely to experience pain in adulthood. Sex-related differences in shoulder dynamics variability during pediatric manual wheelchair propulsion may influence the lifetime risk of pain. We evaluated the influence of sex on 3-dimensional shoulder complex joint dynamics variability in 25 (12 females and 13 males) pediatric manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury. Within-subject variability was quantified using the coefficient of variation. Permutation tests evaluated sex-related differences in variability using an adjusted critical alpha of P = .001. No sex-related differences in sternoclavicular or acromioclavicular joint kinematics or glenohumeral joint dynamics variability were observed (all P ≥ .042). Variability in motion, forces, and moments are considered important components of healthy joint function, as reduced variability may increase the likelihood of repetitive strain injury and pain. While further work is needed to generalize our results to other manual wheelchair user populations across the life span, our findings suggest that sex does not influence joint dynamics variability in pediatric manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury.
The Effects of Optical Flow Perturbations on Standing Balance in People With Multiple Sclerosis
Olivia S. Elie, Jason R. Franz, and Brian P. Selgrade
Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that causes balance deficits, even in early stages. Evidence suggests that people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) rely more on vision to maintain balance, and challenging balance with optical flow perturbations may be a practical screening for balance deficits. Whether these perturbations affect standing balance in PwMS is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how optical flow perturbations affect standing balance in PwMS. We hypothesized that perturbations would cause higher variability in PwMS compared with matched controls during standing and that standing balance would be more susceptible to anterior–posterior (A–P) perturbations than medial–lateral (M–L) perturbations. Thirteen PwMS and 13 controls stood under 3 conditions: unperturbed, M–L perturbation, and A–P perturbations. A–P perturbations caused significantly higher A–P trunk sway variability in PwMS than controls, although both groups had similar center-of-pressure variability. Both perturbations increased variability in A–P trunk sway and center of pressure. Trunk variability data supported the hypothesis that PwMS were more susceptible to optical flow perturbations than controls. However, the hypothesis that A–P perturbations would affect balance more than M–L perturbations was partially supported. These results suggest potential for optical flow perturbations to identify balance deficits in PwMS.
Comparison Between Movement Pattern Training and Strengthening on Kinematics and Kinetics in Patients With Chronic Hip-Related Groin Pain
Ramya Palaniappan, Michael D. Harris, Karen Steger-May, Allyn M. Bove, G. Kelley Fitzgerald, John C. Clohisy, and Marcie Harris-Hayes
The purpose of this study was to compare the preliminary effects of movement pattern training (MoveTrain) versus strengthening/flexibility (standard) treatment on hip and pelvic biomechanics in patients with chronic hip-related groin pain. This is a secondary analysis of data collected during a pilot randomized clinical trial. Thirty patients with hip pain, between the ages of 15 and 40 years, were randomized to MoveTrain or standard. Both groups completed 10 treatment sessions over 12 weeks along with a daily home exercise program. Three-dimensional motion analysis was used to collect kinematic and kinetic data of the pelvis and hip during a single-leg squat task at pretreatment and immediately posttreatment. Compared with the standard group, the MoveTrain group demonstrated smaller hip adduction angles (P = .006) and smaller hip external adduction moments (P = .008) at posttreatment. The desired changes to hip joint biomechanics, as found in this study, may require specificity in training that could allow health care professionals to better customize the rehabilitation of patients with hip pain. These findings can also be applied to the design and implementation of future clinical trials to strengthen our understanding of the long-term implications of different rehabilitation techniques for patients with hip pain.
The Contribution of Lower-Body Kinematics to Pitching and Hitting Performance in Baseball: Utilizing the OpenBiomechanics Project
Corey S. Perrett
As markerless motion capture systems become more affordable than ever, it is becoming far easier to collect and analyze kinematic data on baseballers. To ensure this data can be used impactfully, coaches and practitioners should possess a good understanding of specific technique characteristics that are associated with enhanced performance in pitchers and hitters. This study used the open-source data provided by Driveline Baseball’s OpenBiomechanics Project to evaluate the contribution of lower-body kinematics to pitch velocity and bat speed. In addition to correlational analyses to examine the association between discrete kinematic variables and performance, statistical nonparametric mapping was used to compare slow and fast velocity groups across the entirety of pitching and hitting motions from peak knee height to ball release/contact. It was found that rotation of the trail leg and extension of the lead knee were both associated with performance in pitchers and hitters. Consequently, coaches and practitioners should ensure that individuals possess an adequate level of strength and flexibility to facilitate optimal movement of the trail hip and lead knee during pitching and hitting movements. If deficiencies exist, then training programs should be designed to address these issues and eventually bring about an improvement in performance.
Experimentally Induced Pain Results in Reduced Activity of the Rotator Cuff Muscles in Healthy Subjects
Jennifer L. Cooper and Andrew R. Karduna
Shoulder pain is a complex, prevalent problem that is multifactorial in nature. While there are many potential causes, one common suspect is the rotator cuff musculature. The purpose of the present study was to induce pain in the supraspinatus muscle of healthy subjects and observe the resulting changes in muscle activity. Eight muscles on 23 subjects were assessed using electromyography: anterior, middle, and posterior deltoid; pectoralis major; upper trapezius; latissimus dorsi; serratus anterior; supraspinatus; and infraspinatus. It was hypothesized that the rotator cuff muscles would display reduced activity during pain, and that reductions in activity would remain after the pain had dissipated. Both of the rotator cuff muscles measured did indeed display reduced activity in a majority of the dynamic, isometric, and maximal contractions. Many of those reductions remained after the pain had subsided.
Commingling Effects of Anterior Load and Walking Surface on Dynamic Gait Stability in Young Adults
Caroline Simpkins, Jiyun Ahn, Rebekah Buehler, Rebecca Ban, Meredith Wells, and Feng Yang
Treadmill walking has been used as a surrogate for overground walking to examine how load carriage affects gait. The validity of using treadmill walking to investigate load carriage’s effects on stability has not been established. Thirty young adults were randomized into 3 front-loaded groups (group 1: 0%, 2: 10%, or 3: 20% of bodyweight). Participants carried their load during overground and treadmill walking. Dynamic gait stability (primary outcome) was determined for 2 gait events (touchdown and liftoff). Secondary variables included step length, gait speed, and trunk angle. Groups 1 and 2 demonstrated similar stability between walking surfaces. Group 3 was less stable during treadmill walking than overground (P ≤ .005). Besides trunk angle, all secondary outcomes were similar between groups (P > .272) but different between surfaces (P ≤ .001). The trunk angle at both events showed significant group- and surface-related differences (P ≤ .046). Results suggested that walking with an anterior load of up to 10% bodyweight causes comparable stability between surfaces. A 20% bodyweight front load could render participants less stable on the treadmill than overground. This indicates that anteriorly loaded treadmill walking may not be interchangeable with overground walking concerning stability for anterior loads of 20% bodyweight.
Delivering Load-Modifying Gait Retraining Interventions via Telehealth in People With Medial Knee Osteoarthritis: A Pilot Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
Nicole D’Souza, Laura Hutchison, Jane Grayson, Claire Hiller, Sarah Kobayashi, and Milena Simic
We aimed to investigate the effects of delivering 3 gait retraining interventions (toe-in, toe-out, and placebo gait) on proxy measures of medial knee load (early- and late-stance peak knee adduction moment [KAM], KAM impulse, and varus thrust) in people with knee osteoarthritis, using a hybrid model of face-to-face and telehealth-delivered sessions over 5 months. This was an originally planned 3-arm randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. However, during the 2021 COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Sydney, Australia, the study became a pilot randomized controlled trial with the remainder of interventions delivered via telehealth. Nine individuals with symptomatic medial knee osteoarthritis were allocated to receive either a toe-in, toe-out, or posture re-education (placebo) gait retraining intervention. Primary outcomes of early- and late-stance peak KAM, KAM impulse, and varus thrust were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Eight participants returned for their follow-up gait assessment. Participants in both active intervention groups (toe-in and toe-out) achieved foot progression angle changes at follow-up. Overall, knee biomechanics in the placebo group did not change at follow-up. It is possible to achieve biomechanical changes in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis when delivering gait retraining interventions via a hybrid model of face-to-face and telehealth.