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  • Author: Steven P. Arnoczky x
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Niell G. Elvin, Alex A. Elvin and Steven P. Arnoczky

Modern electronics allow for the unobtrusive measurement of accelerations outside the laboratory using wireless sensor nodes. The ability to accurately measure joint accelerations under unrestricted conditions, and to correlate them with jump height and landing force, could provide important data to better understand joint mechanics subject to real-life conditions. This study investigates the correlation between peak vertical ground reaction forces, as measured by a force plate, and tibial axial accelerations during free vertical jumping. The jump heights calculated from force-plate data and accelerometer measurements are also compared. For six male subjects participating in this study, the average coefficient of determination between peak ground reaction force and peak tibial axial acceleration is found to be 0.81. The coefficient of determination between jump height calculated using force plate and accelerometer data is 0.88. Data show that the landing forces could be as high as 8 body weights of the jumper. The measured peak tibial accelerations ranged up to 42 g. Jump heights calculated from force plate and accelerometer sensors data differed by less than 2.5 cm. It is found that both impact accelerations and landing forces are only weakly correlated with jump height (the average coefficient of determination is 0.12). This study shows that unobtrusive accelerometers can be used to determine the ground reaction forces experienced in a jump landing. Whereas the device also permitted an accurate determination of jump height, there was no correlation between peak ground reaction force and jump height.

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Erin M.R. Bigelow, Niell G. Elvin, Alex A. Elvin and Steven P. Arnoczky

To determine whether peak vertical and horizontal impact accelerations were different while running on a track or on a treadmill, 12 healthy subjects (average age 32.8 ± 9.8 y), were fitted with a novel, wireless accelerometer capable of recording triaxial acceleration over time. The accelerometer was attached to a custom-made acrylic plate and secured at the level of the L5 vertebra via a tight fitting triathlon belt. Each subject ran 4 miles on a synthetic, indoor track at a self-selected pace and accelerations were recorded on three perpendicular axes. Seven days later, the subjects ran 4 miles on a treadmill set at the individual runner’s average pace on the track and the peak vertical and horizontal impact magnitudes between the track and treadmill were compared. There was no difference (P = .52) in the average peak vertical impact accelerations between the track and treadmill over the 4 mile run. However, peak horizontal impact accelerations were greater (P = .0012) on the track when compared with the treadmill. This study demonstrated the feasibility for long-term impact accelerations monitoring using a novel wireless accelerometer.

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Niell Elvin, Alex Elvin, Cornie Scheffer, Steven Arnoczky, Edwin Dillon and P. J. Erasmus

The etiology of patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee) has been attributed to a significant increase in patellar tendon torques associated with jumping. While some investigators have suggested that patellar tendon torques are greater during takeoff, little is known about the relative magnitudes of patellar tendon torques during takeoff and landing. We hypothesized that peak patellar tendon torques are greater in jump takeoff than in landing, and that there is a linear correlation between jump height and peak patellar tendon torque. Seven asymptomatic, recreational male athletes each performed a series of 21 jumps ranging from low to maximal height. A calibrated fiber-optic sensor, implanted transversely within the patellar tendon was used to measure the knee torque during takeoff and landing. There was no significant difference in the peak patellar tendon torque experienced during takeoff and landing within individuals. There was a moderate correlation (r = .64) between maximum takeoff patellar tendon torques and jump height. There was a weak correlation (r = .52) between maximum landing patellar tendon torques and jump height. There was a moderate correlation (r = .67) between maximum 60°/s isokinetic extension torque and maximum jump height. The lack of a strong correlation between jump height and patellar tendon forces during takeoff or landing suggests that these forces may be technique dependent. Therefore, modifying takeoff and/or landing techniques could reduce patellar tendon force and potentially lessen the incidence of patellar tendinopathy.

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Niell G. Elvin, Alex A. Elvin, Steven P. Arnoczky and Michael R. Torry

Impact forces and shock deceleration during jumping and running have been associated with various knee injury etiologies. This study investigates the influence of jump height and knee contact angle on peak ground reaction force and segment axial accelerations. Ground reaction force, segment axial acceleration, and knee angles were measured for 6 male subjects during vertical jumping. A simple spring-mass model is used to predict the landing stiffness at impact as a function of (1) jump height, (2) peak impact force, (3) peak tibial axial acceleration, (4) peak thigh axial acceleration, and (5) peak trunk axial acceleration. Using a nonlinear least square fit, a strong (r = 0.86) and significant (p ≤ 0.05) correlation was found between knee contact angle and stiffness calculated using the peak impact force and jump height. The same model also showed that the correlation was strong (r = 0.81) and significant (p ≤ 0.05) between knee contact angle and stiffness calculated from the peak trunk axial accelerations. The correlation was weaker for the peak thigh (r = 0.71) and tibial (r = 0.45) axial accelerations. Using the peak force but neglecting jump height in the model, produces significantly worse correlation (r = 0.58). It was concluded that knee contact angle significantly influences both peak ground reaction forces and segment accelerations. However, owing to the nonlinear relationship, peak forces and segment accelerations change more rapidly at smaller knee flexion angles (i.e., close to full extension) than at greater knee flexion angles.