Biomechanics is defined as the application of the laws of mechanics to the study or structure and function of movement. It is a relatively new subdiscipline to the domain of kinesiology. Biomechanics was initially closely associated with the study of sports technique. However, over the years, biomechanics has taken on a much more diverse field of study. In this paper, we will describe the contributions that biomechanics has made to the area of clinical biomechanics research in terms of clinical assessment and outcomes and the design of clinical apparatus. The first example examines a clinical assessment of a cerebral palsy child. The goals of such a clinical assessment are 1) to determine the primary problems with the locomotion capabilities of the individual, 2) to recommend treatment options, and 3) to evaluate treatment outcomes. In the second example, a procedure is described for designing braces for scoliosis patients. For this example, a three-dimensional digital twin is developed using a scanning technique. This example illustrates the research conducted on developing a technique to noninvasively and safely determine the torso deformities resulting from scoliosis. While these examples are but two of a wide variety of examples that could be used, they illustrate the contribution of biomechanics to the clinical world.
Joseph Hamill, George Gorton and Peter Masso
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.