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Elisa S. Arch and Bretta L. Fylstra

The large, late-stance energy generated by the ankle is believed to be critical during gait. However, the distal foot absorbs/dissipates a considerable amount of energy during the same phase. Thus, the energy generated by the combined ankle–foot system is more modest, which raises questions regarding the necessity of such a large ankle power and the interplay between foot and ankle energetics. This study aimed to evaluate our conservation of energy hypothesis, which predicted if distal foot energy absorption/dissipation was reduced, then less energy would be generated at the ankle and thus the same combined ankle–foot energetics would be achieved. Motion analysis data were collected as healthy subjects walked under 2 conditions (Shoes, Footplate). In the Footplate condition, the shoe was replaced with a customized, rigid footplate with a rocker profile. In support of the hypothesis, there was significantly less positive ankle and less negative distal foot work with footplate use, resulting in very similar combined ankle–foot work between conditions. These findings suggest that there is an interplay between the energy generated by the ankle and absorbed by the foot. This interplay should be considered when designing orthotic and prosthetic ankle–foot systems and rehabilitation programs for individuals with weakened ankle muscles.

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Elisa S. Arch, Sarah Colón and James G. Richards

Breast and bra motion research aims to understand how the breasts/bra move to aid development of apparel that minimizes motion. Most previously published research has tracked nipple motion to represent bra motion. However, this method does not provide information regarding regional tissue motion. A more comprehensive approach might facilitate understanding how the entire soft-tissue mass moves during physical activities. This study developed and tested an objective method to comprehensively measure 3-dimensional bra motion, including regional displacement and velocity, displacement phasing, and surface stretch. To test the method, 6 females were fitted with a minimally supportive, seamless bra (small bra n = 3; large bra n = 3). Data were collected as participants ran on a treadmill. Results indicated marker displacement, velocity, link stretch, and link stretch velocities reached as high as 52.6 (6.8) mm, 504.8 (88.7) mm/s, 29.5% (7.1%) of minimum length, and 3.8 (1.0) mm/s/mm, respectively, with the large bra having greater motions compared with the small. Most bra motion occurred above/below the nipple region and at the bra’s strap–body interface, independent of bra size. Importantly, maximum marker displacement and velocity did not occur at the nipple. Measurements obtained from this new method may be important for designing innovative clothing that minimizes bra motion during physical activity.