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  • Author: Grant Trewartha x
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Maurice R. Yeadon and Grant Trewartha

The goal of this study was to investigate the control strategy employed by gymnasts in maintaining a hand balance. It was hypothesized that a “wrist strategy” was used in which perturbations in the sagittal plane were corrected using variations in wrist flexor torque with synergistic shoulder and hip torques acting to preserve a fixed body configuration. A theoretical model of wrist strategy indicated that control could be effected using wrist torque that was a linear function of mass center displacement and velocity. Four male gymnasts executed hand balances and 2-dimensional inverse dynamics was used to determine net joint torque time histories at the wrist, shoulder, and hip joints in the sagittal plane. Wrist torque was regressed against mass center position and velocity values at progressively earlier times. It was found that all gymnasts used the wrist strategy, with time delays ranging from 160 to 240 ms. The net joint torques at the shoulder and hip joints were regressed against the torques required to maintain a fixed configuration. This fixed configuration strategy accounted for 86% of the variance in the shoulder torque and 86% of the variance in the hip torque although the actual torques exceeded the predicted torques by 7% and 30%, respectively. The estimated time delays are consistent with the use of long latency reflexes, whereas the role of vestibular and visual information in maintaining a hand balance is less certain.

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Neil E. Bezodis, Aki I.T. Salo, and Grant Trewartha

Two-dimensional analyses of sprint kinetics are commonly undertaken but often ignore the metatarsal-phalangeal (MTP) joint and model the foot as a single segment. The aim of this study was to quantify the role of the MTP joint in the early acceleration phase of a sprint and to investigate the effect of ignoring the MTP joint on the calculated joint kinetics at the other stance leg joints. High-speed video and force platform data were collected from four to five trials for each of three international athletes. Resultant joint moments, powers, and net work at the stance leg joints during the first stance phase after block clearance were calculated using three different foot models. Considerable MTP joint range of motion (>30°) and a peak net MTP plantar flexor moment of magnitude similar to the knee joint were observed, thus highlighting the need to include this joint for a more complete picture of the lower limb energetics during early acceleration. Inclusion of the MTP joint had minimal effect on the calculated joint moments, but some of the calculated joint power and work values were significantly (P < .05) and meaningfully affected, particularly at the ankle. The choice of foot model is therefore an important consideration when investigating specific aspects of sprinting technique.

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Dominic James Farris, Erica Buckeridge, Grant Trewartha, and Miranda Polly McGuigan

This study assessed the effects of orthotic heel lifts on Achilles tendon (AT) force and strain during running. Ten females ran barefoot over a force plate in three conditions: no heel lifts (NHL), with 12 mm heel lifts (12HL) and with 18 mm heel lifts (18HL). Kinematics for the right lower limb were collected (200 Hz). AT force was calculated from inverse dynamics. AT strain was determined from kinematics and ultrasound images of medial gastrocnemius (50 Hz). Peak AT strain was less for 18HL (5.5 ± 4.4%) than for NHL (7.4 ± 4.2%) (p = .029, effect size [ES] = 0.44) but not for 12HL (5.8 ± 4.8%) versus NHL (ES = 0.35). Peak AT force was significantly (p = .024, ES = 0.42) less for 18HL (2382 ± 717 N) than for NHL (2710 ± 830 N) but not for 12HL (2538 ± 823 N, ES = 0.21). The 18HL reduced ankle dorsiflexion but not flexion-extension ankle moments and increased the AT moment arm compared with NHL. Thus, 18HL reduced force and strain on the AT during running via a reduction in dorsiflexion, which lengthened the AT moment arm. Therefore, heel lifts could be used to reduce AT loading and strain during the rehabilitation of AT injuries.