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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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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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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.