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Rebecca L. Krupenevich and Ross H. Miller

The causes of age-related differences in lower-extremity joint moments and powers are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of highly physically active older adults walking with (1) a step length similar to young adults and (2) an upright trunk posture, on hip and ankle joint kinetics. The authors hypothesized that, compared with their self-selected walking mechanics, older adults would exhibit decreased hip kinetics and increased ankle kinetics when prescribed a young adult step length, and would exhibit decreased hip extension moments when maintaining an upright trunk posture during walking. A total of 12 active older adults (67 [5] y) and 13 active young adults (21 [3] y) walked at 1.3 m/s. The older adults also walked at 1.3 m/s with step lengths prescribed from height-matched young adults and, in a separate condition, walked with an upright trunk. The older adults did not display larger ankle kinetics or smaller hip kinetics in either condition compared to walking with a self-selected step length. These findings indicate that step length and trunk position do not primarily contribute to age-related differences in kinetics in highly active older adults and should serve as a starting point for investigating alternative explanations.

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Jason C. Gillette, Catherine A. Stevermer, Ross H. Miller, W. Brent Edwards, and Charles V. Schwab

Farm youth often carry loads that are proportionally large and/or heavy, and field measurements have determined that these tasks are equivalent to industrial jobs with high injury risks. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of age, load amount, and load symmetry on lower extremity joint moments during carrying tasks. Three age groups (8–10 years, 12–14 years, adults), three load amounts (0%, 10%, 20% BW), and three load symmetry levels (unilateral large bucket, unilateral small bucket, bilateral small buckets) were tested. Inverse dynamics was used to determine maximum ankle, knee, and hip joint moments. Ankle dorsiflexion, ankle inversion, ankle eversion, knee adduction, and hip extension moments were significantly higher in 8–10 and 12–14 year olds. Ankle plantar flexion, ankle inversion, knee extension, and hip extension moments were significantly increased at 10% and 20% BW loads. Knee and hip adduction moments were significantly increased at 10% and 20% BW loads when carrying a unilateral large bucket. Of particular concern are increased ankle inversion and eversion moments for children, along with increased knee and hip adduction moments for heavy, asymmetrical carrying tasks. Carrying loads bilaterally instead of unilaterally avoided increases in knee and hip adduction moments with increased load amount.

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Jessica G. Hunter, Gina L. Garcia, Sushant M. Ranadive, Jae Kun Shim, and Ross H. Miller

Context: Understanding if roller massage prior to a run can mitigate fatigue-related decrements in muscle force production during prolonged running is important because of the association between fatigue and running-related injury. Objective: The authors investigated whether a bout of roller massage prior to running would (1) mitigate fatigue-related increases in vertical average load rate and free moment of the ground reaction force of running and (2) mitigate decreases in maximal countermovement jump height. Design: Repeated-measures study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: A total of 14 recreational endurance athletes (11 men and 3 women) volunteered for the study. Interventions: A 12.5-minute foam roller protocol for the lower extremities and a fatiguing 30-minute treadmill run. Main Outcome Measures: Vertical average load rate, free moment, and maximal jump height before (PRE) and after (POST) the fatiguing treadmill run on separate experimental days: once where participants sat quietly prior to the fatiguing run (REST) and another where the foam roller protocol was performed prior to the run (ROLL). Results: A 2-way multiple analysis of variance found no significant differences in vertical average load rate, free moment, and jump height between PRE/POST times in both REST/ROLL conditions. Conclusions: The authors concluded that recreational endurance athletes maintain running mechanics and jump performance after a fatiguing run regardless of prerun roller massage and may not rely on prerun roller massage as a form of injury prevention.

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Ross H. Miller, Stacey A. Meardon, Timothy R. Derrick, and Jason C. Gillette

Previous research has proposed that a lack of variability in lower extremity coupling during running is associated with pathology. The purpose of the study was to evaluate lower extremity coupling variability in runners with and without a history of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) during an exhaustive run. Sixteen runners ran to voluntary exhaustion on a motorized treadmill while a motion capture system recorded reflective marker locations. Eight runners had a history of ITBS. At the start and end of the run, continuous relative phase (CRP) angles and CRP variability between strides were calculated for key lower extremity kinematic couplings. The ITBS runners demonstrated less CRP variability than controls in several couplings between segments that have been associated with knee pain and ITBS symptoms, including tibia rotation–rearfoot motion and rearfoot motion–thigh ad/abduction, but more variability in knee flexion/extension–foot ad/abduction. The ITBS runners also demonstrated low variability at heel strike in coupling between rearfoot motion–tibia rotation. The results suggest that runners prone to ITBS use abnormal segmental coordination patterns, particular in couplings involving thigh ad/abduction and tibia internal/external rotation. Implications for variability in injury etiology are suggested.

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Joseph G. Wasser, Julian C. Acasio, Ross H. Miller, and Brad D. Hendershot

Individuals with lower limb loss often walk with altered/asymmetric movement mechanics, postulated as a catalyst for development of low back and knee pain. Here, the authors simultaneously investigated trunk-pelvic movement patterns and lower limb joint kinematics and kinetics among 38 males with traumatic, unilateral lower limb loss (23 transtibial and 15 transfemoral), and 15 males without limb loss, at a self-selected and 2 standardized (1.0 and 1.6 m/s) speeds. Individuals with versus without lower limb loss walked with greater trunk range of motion in the frontal and transverse planes at all speeds (despite ∼10% slower self-selected speeds). At all speeds, individuals with versus without limb loss exhibited +29% larger medial ground reaction forces, and at 1.6 m/s also exhibited +50% to 110% larger vertical hip power generation, +27% to 80% larger vertical hip power absorption, and +21% to 90% larger medial–lateral hip power absorption. Moreover, pervasive biomechanical differences between transtibial versus transfemoral limb loss identify amputation-level movement strategies. Overall, greater demands on the musculoskeletal system across walking speeds, particularly at the hip, knee, and low back, highlight potential risk factors for the development/recurrence of prevalent secondary musculoskeletal conditions (eg, joint degeneration and pain) following limb loss.

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Jessica G. Hunter, Alexander M.B. Smith, Lena M. Sciarratta, Stephen Suydam, Jae Kun Shim, and Ross H. Miller

Studies of running mechanics often use a standardized lab shoe, ostensibly to reduce variance between subjects; however, this may induce unnatural running mechanics. The purpose of this study was to compare the step rate, vertical average loading rate, and ground contact time when running in standardized lab shoes versus participants’ normal running shoes. Ground reaction forces were measured while the participants ran overground in both shoe conditions at a self-selected speed. The Student’s t-test revealed that the vertical average loading rate magnitude was smaller in lab shoes versus normal shoes (42.09 [11.08] vs 47.35 [10.81] body weight/s, P = .013), while the step rate (170.92 [9.43] vs 168.98 [9.63] steps/min, P = .053) and ground contact time were similar (253 [25] vs 251 [20] ms, P = .5227) and the variance of all outcomes was similar in lab shoes versus normal shoes. Our results indicate that using standardized lab shoes during testing may underestimate the loads runners actually experience during their typical mileage.