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Joseph F. Seay, Jeffery M. Haddad, Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Joseph Hamill

Increases in movement variability have previously been observed to be a hallmark property of cooraination changes between coupled oscillators that occur as movement frequency is scaled. Prior research on the walk-run transition in human locomotion has also demonstrated increases in variability around the transition region, supporting predictions of nonequilibrium phase transitions (Diedrich & Warren, 1995). The current study examined the coordinative patterns of both intra- and inter-limb couplings around the walk-run transition using two different temporal manipulations of locomotor velocity as a control parameter in healthy young participants (N = 11). Coordination variability did not increase before the transition. The nature of the change in continuous relative phase variability between gait modes was coupling-specific, and varying the time spent at each velocity did not have an overall effect on gait transition dynamics. Lower extremity inter-limb coordination dynamics were more sensitive to changes in treadmill velocity than intra-limb coordination. The results demonstrate the complexity of segmental coordination change in human locomotion, and question the applicability of dynamical bimanual coordination models to human gait transitions.

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Jeffrey M. Haddad, Laura J. Claxton, Dawn K. Melzer, Joseph Hamill and Richard E. A. van Emmerik

Posture becomes integrated with other goal-directed behaviors early in infancy and continues to develop into the second decade of life. However, the developmental time course over which posture is stabilized relative to the base of support during a dynamic manual precision task has not been examined. Postural-manual integration was assessed in 7-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and adults using a postural-manual task in which task precision (target fitting size) and postural difficulty (reaching distance to a target) were manipulated. The main dependent variable was postural time-to-contact (TtC). Results indicated systematic age effects in which TtC was shortest in the 7-year-olds, increased in the 10-year-olds, and was longest in the adults. Across all age levels, TtC was longer when performing a precision ft compared with a nonprecision ft and when fitting at a near target compared with fitting at a far target. Finally, TtC increased over the course of the manual fitting task, suggesting that posture became increasingly stable as the hand approached the opening. The ability to modulate postural TtC during the course of the fitting trial was most pronounced in adults as compared with both groups of children. These results suggest that even by 10-years of age, children are not yet able to fully integrate postural movements with goal directed manual tasks at adult-like levels.

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Dorsey S. Williams III, Irene S. McClay, Joseph Hamill and Thomas S. Buchanan

High- and low-arched feet have long been thought to function differently. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between arch structure and lower extremity mechanics in runners with extreme pes planus and pes cavus. It was hypothesized that low-arched individuals would exhibit an increased rearfoot eversion excursion, eversion/tibial internal rotation ratio, and increased angular velocity in rearfoot eversion when compared to high-arched runners. In addition, it was hypothesized that high-arched runners would exhibit greater vertical loading rates. Twenty high-arched and 20 low-arched runners with histories of running-related injuries were included in this study. Low-arched runners were found to have increased rearfoot eversion excursion, eversion to tibial internal rotation ratio, and rearfoot eversion velocity. High-arched runners had increased vertical loading rate when compared to low-arched runners. These results suggest that arch structure is associated with specific lower extremity kinematics and kinetics. Differences in these parameters may subsequently lead to differences in injury patterns in high-arched and low-arched runners.

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Christine J. Ebbeling, Joseph Hamill, Patty S. Freedson and Thomas W. Rowland

This study compared metabolic, kinematic, and efficiency parameters in 10 boys and 10 men while walking at speeds of similar relative intensities. Heart rate and oxygen consumption were monitored throughout the exercise and a sagittal view of the subject was filmed for biomechanical analysis. Angles of the hip, knee, and ankle changed with an increase in walking speed. There were kinematic differences between children and adults at the hip and knee. Heart rate and oxygen consumption (ml•kg−1•min−1) were greater in the children. There were no significant differences between children and adults when VO2 was normalized by body surface area rather than body mass. The work done by the body was greater in the adults, whereas the energy used was greater in the children. Therefore the children appeared less efficient. The reasons for the efficiency difference are not well documented. Scaling effects may be involved and therefore should be taken into consideration when comparing children and adults.

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Jeffrey M. Haddad, Richard E.A. van Emmerik, Jonathan S. Wheat, Joseph Hamill and Winona Snapp-Childs

A variety of kinematic and kinetic measures are typically used to examine gait symmetry. Here we make the argument that gait asymmetries may be most clearly revealed through higher-order coordinative measures such as continuous relative phase (CRP). Participants walked on a treadmill with a load attached to their nondominant limb. Gait symmetry was then assessed using spatial (angular), temporal (velocity), and higherorder (CRP) symmetry measures. It was found that higher-order measures were most sensitive at assessing asymmetries due to load manipulation at both the distal and proximal segments. Symmetry measures derived from velocity variables were more sensitive than angular measures at detecting asymmetries, but were less sensitive compared with CRP. Asymmetries were also more readily detected using segmental angles compared with joint angles. These results suggest that gait asymmetries that emerge from changing constraints manifest along both spatial and temporal dimensions.

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Julia Freedman Silvernail, Richard E.A. van Emmerik, Katherine Boyer, Michael A. Busa and Joseph Hamill

The development of a methodology to assess movement coordination has provided gait researchers a tool to assess movement organization. A challenge in analyzing movement coordination using vector coding lies within the inherent circularity of data garnered from this technique. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine if accurate group comparisons can be made with varying techniques of vector coding analyses. Thigh–shank coordination was analyzed using a modified vector coding technique on data from 2 groups of runners. Movement coordination was compared between groups using 3 techniques: (1) linear average completed with compressed data (0°–180°) and noncompressed data (0°–360°), (2) coordination phase binning analysis; and (3) a circular statistics analysis. Circular statistics (inferential) analysis provided a rigorous comparison of average movement coordination between groups. In addition, the binning analysis provided a metric for detecting even small differences in the time spent with a particular coordination pattern between groups. However, the linear analysis provided erroneous group comparisons. Furthermore, with compressed data, linear analysis led to misclassification of coordination patterns. While data compression may be attractive as a means of simplifying statistical analysis of inherently circular data, recommendations are to use circular statistics and binning methods on noncompressed data.

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Pedro Rodrigues, Ryan Chang, Trampas TenBroek, Richard van Emmerik and Joseph Hamill

Excessive pronation, because of its coupling with tibial internal rotation (TIR), has been implicated as a risk factor in the development of anterior knee pain (AKP). Traditionally, this coupling has been expressed as a ratio between the eversion range of motion and the TIR range of motion (Ev/TIR) that occurs during stance. Currently, this technique has not been used to evaluate specific injuries or the effects of sex. In addition, Ev/TIR is incapable of detecting coupling changes that occur throughout stance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the coupling between eversion and TIR in runners with (n = 19) and without AKP (n = 17) and across sex using the Ev/TIR ratio, and more continuously using vector coding. When using vector coding, significant coupling differences were noted in runners with AKP (34% to 38% stance), with runners with AKP showing relatively more TIR than eversion. Similarly significant differences were noted across sex (14%–25% and 36%–47% stance), with males transitioning from a loading to propulsive coordination pattern using a proximal to distal strategy, and female runners using a distal to proximal strategy. These differences were only detected when evaluating this coupling relationship using a continuous technique such as vector coding.

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Trampas M. TenBroek, Pedro A. Rodrigues, Edward C. Frederick and Joseph Hamill

The purpose of this study was to: (1) investigate how kinematic patterns are adjusted while running in footwear with THIN, MEDIUM, and THICK midsole thicknesses and (2) determine if these patterns are adjusted over time during a sustained run in footwear of different thicknesses. Ten male heel-toe runners performed treadmill runs in specially constructed footwear (THIN, MEDIUM, and THICK midsoles) on separate days. Standard lower extremity kinematics and acceleration at the tibia and head were captured. Time epochs were created using data from every 5 minutes of the run. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used (P < .05) to determine differences across footwear and time. At touchdown, kinematics were similar for the THIN and MEDIUM conditions distal to the knee, whereas only the THIN condition was isolated above the knee. No runners displayed midfoot or forefoot strike patterns in any condition. Peak accelerations were slightly increased with THIN and MEDIUM footwear as was eversion, as well as tibial and thigh internal rotation. It appears that participants may have been anticipating, very early in their run, a suitable kinematic pattern based on both the length of the run and the footwear condition.

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David R. Mullineaux, Clare E. Milner, Irene S. Davis and Joseph Hamill

The appropriateness of normalizing data, as one method to reduce the effects of a covariate on a dependent variable, should be evaluated. Using ratio, 0.67-nonlinear, and fitted normalizations, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between ground reaction force variables and body mass (BM). Ground reaction forces were recorded for 40 female subjects running at 3.7 ± 0.18 m·s–1 (mass = 58 ± 6 kg). The explained variance for mass to forces (peak-impact-vertical = 70%; propulsive-vertical = 27%; braking = 40%) was reduced to < 0.1% for mass to ratio normalized forces (i.e., forces/BM1) with statistically significantly different power exponents (p < 0.05). The smaller covariate effect of mass on loading rate variables of 2–16% was better removed through fitted normalization (e.g., vertical-instantaneous-loading-rate/BM0.69±0.93; ±95% CI) with nonlinear power exponents ranging from 0.51 to 1.13. Generally, these were similar to 0.67 as predicted through dimensionality theory, but, owing to the large confidence intervals, these power exponents were not statistically significantly different from absolute or ratio normalized data (p > 0.05). Further work is warranted to identify the appropriate method to normalize loading rates either to mass or to another covariate. Ratio normalization of forces to mass, as predicted through Newtonian mechanics, is recommended for comparing subjects of different masses.

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Edward C. Frederick, Jeremy J. Determan, Saunders N. Whittlesey and Joseph Hamill

Seven top amateur or professional skateboarders (BW = 713 N ± 83 N) performed Ollie maneuvers onto and off an elevated wooden platform (45.7 cm high). We recorded ground reaction force (GRF) data for three Ollie Up (OU) and Ollie Down (OD) trials per participant. The vertical GRF (VGRF) during the OU has a characteristic propulsive peak (M = 2.22 body weight [BW] ± 0.22) resulting from rapidly rotating the tail of the board into the ground to propel the skater and board up and forward. The anterior-posterior (A-P) GRF also shows a pronounced peak (M = 0.05 ± 0.01 BW) corresponding with this propulsive VGRF peak. The initial phase of landing in the OD shows an impact peak in VGRF rising during the first 30 to 80 ms to a mean of 4.74 ± 0.46 BW. These impact peaks are higher than expected given the relatively short drop of 45.7 cm and crouched body position. But we observed that our participants intentionally affected a firm landing to stabilize the landing position; and the Ollie off the platform raised the center of mass, also contributing to higher forces.