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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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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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Catarina Morais, Clara Simães, A. Rui Gomes, and Beatriz M. Gonçalves

This study aimed to provide a framework for how athletes evaluate stress before a competition and how stress relates to cognitive appraisal, sport confidence, and expectations of performance. Participants were 327 youth male athletes, aged 15–19 years (M = 16.90; SD = 1.00), who competed in the Portuguese National Football League and completed a questionnaire 24–48 hr before their match, using the critical incident methodology. Results revealed that opponents were the main source of stress for athletes and that the more athletes stress about their opponents, the more they tend to perceive the situation as threatening (and less challenging), the lower their perceptions of coping and sport confidence which, in turn, predicted lower expectations of individual and collective performance. In sum, perceiving the stressful situation as either a challenge or a threat predicts young athletes’ sport confidence and, consequently, expected performance when dealing with stressful competitive situations.

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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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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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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.

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Sabrina Gomez Souffront, Angeliki M. Mavrantza, and Marcelo Bigliassi

The present study sought to investigate the effects of a self-talk intervention on free-throw performance under pressure. The experimental manipulation was designed using a video from a social media platform. Thirty male college basketball players were randomly assigned into two groups (i.e., control and experimental). The experimental protocol incorporated three trials of three free throws each. Psychophysiological stress was assessed by use of heart rate variability. The illusion of pressure was created using arena recordings of large crowds along with instructions for participants to visualize a high-pressure scenario. The results indicate that the self-talk intervention was sufficient to improve free throw shooting accuracy during the postintervention phase. Short-term heart rate variability reduced significantly for the control group and remained relatively stable for the experimental group. Self-talk appears to influence free throw accuracy during situations of psychosocial stress by inhibiting the influence of negative thoughts on peripheral physiological reactions and movement automaticity.

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J.D. DeFreese, Daniel J. Madigan, and Henrik Gustafsson