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Nancy L. Greer, Joseph Hamill and Kevin R. Campbell

Ground reaction force patterns during walking were observed in 18 children 3 and 4 years of age. The children walked barefoot at a self-chosen walking pace. Selected variables representing the vertical, anteroposterior, and mediolateral force components were evaluated. The results indicated that children in this age range contact the ground with greater vertical force measures relative to body mass than do adults. In addition, the minimum vertical force was lower, the transition from braking to propulsion occurred earlier, and the mediolateral force excursions were higher than typically found in adults. When the children were divided into groups on the basis of sex, differences were observed between those groups. The boys exhibited a greater difference in the vertical peak forces, a lower minimum force, a greater braking force, and a higher mediolateral force excursion value. The results indicated that children display a different ground reaction force pattern than do adults and that differences between boys and girls may be observed as early as ages 3 and 4 years.

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Jeff A. Nessler, Thomas Hastings, Kevin Greer and Sean C. Newcomer

Low back pain is a commonly reported problem among recreational surfers. Some individuals report that wearing a vest with an inflatable bladder that alters trunk angle may help to alleviate pain. The purpose of this study was to determine whether such a vest has an effect on muscle activation and extension of the lower back. Twelve recreational surfers completed 12 paddling trials at 1.1 m/s in a swim flume on both a shortboard and a longboard on 2 separate days. Three conditions of no vest, vest uninflated, and vest inflated were presented to participants in random order. Surface EMG and trunk angle were acquired via wireless sensors placed over the right erector spinae, mid-trapezius, upper trapezius, and latissimus dorsi. Wearing the inflated vest affected muscle activation: erector spinae and mid-trapezius demonstrated a significant decrease in activation relative to wearing no vest (12% and 18% respectively, p < .05). Trunk extension was also significantly reduced when the vest was inflated (18% reduction, p < .05). Results were similar for both the short and longboard, though this effect was greater while paddling the larger board. These results suggest that a properly inflated vest can alter trunk extension and muscle activity while paddling a surfboard in water.