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Joshua M. Thomas and Timothy R. Derrick

The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of step uncertainty on shock attenuation and knee/subtalar synchrony. Uncertainty was manipulated by decreasing the intensity of light and introducing bumps to the running surface. Twelve experienced distance runners ran at their chosen pace on a treadmill with two surfaces (smooth and irregular) and three light intensities (light, medium, dark). Knee angle, subtalar angle, leg impacts, and head impacts were recorded at 1,000 Hz. Heart rate was also monitored. Injury potential was assessed by evaluating the impacts and asynchronous activity between the knee and subtalar joint. Stride length was not influenced by either source of uncertainty. Heart rate increased with the intensity of light on the smooth running surface but decreased with the intensity of light on the irregular surface. The knee was more flexed at heel contact during the irregular surface conditions but was not affected by the intensity of light. This decreased the effective mass of the impact and allowed greater peak leg accelerations and greater impact attenuation during irregular surface running. There was a decrease in the rearfoot angle at contact on the irregular surface that approached significance (p = 0.056). Knee/subtalar asynchrony increased with the intensity of light on the smooth surface but decreased on the irregular surface. It appears that participants used the knee joint to adapt to the irregular surface and thus accommodate changes in the terrain. The subtalar joint may have become more stable during irregular surface running to minimize the chance of inversion sprains. The effects of intensity of light were small and generally mediated the irregular surface effects. Overall, these adaptations likely reduced the potential for injury during irregular surface running but may have been detrimental to performance.

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Timothy R. Derrick, Graham E. Caldwell, and Joseph Hamill

A modified mass-spring-damper model was used to simulate the vertical ground reaction forces of a human runner as stride length was altered. Spring stiffness values were selected by an optimizing routine that altered model parameters to match the model ground reaction force curve to a runner’s actual ground reaction force curve. A mass in series with a spring was used to simulate the behavior of body structures that produce the active portion of the ground reaction force. A second mass in series with a spring-damper system was used to simulate the behavior of those components that cause the impact portion of the ground reaction force. The stiffness of the active spring showed a 51% decrease as subjects increased their stride length. The stiffness value of the impact spring showed a trend opposite that of the active spring, increasing by 20% as strides lengthened. It appears that the impact stiffness plays a role in preventing the support leg from collapsing in response to the increased contact velocities seen in the longer strides.

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Chen Deng, Jason C. Gillette, and Timothy R. Derrick

A detailed understanding of the hip loading environment is needed to help prevent hip fractures, minimize hip pain, rehabilitate hip injuries, and design osteogenic exercises for the hip. The purpose of this study was to compare femoral neck stress during stair ascent and descent and to identify the contribution of muscles and reaction forces to the stress environment in mature adult subjects (n = 17; age: 50–65 y). Motion analysis and inverse dynamics were combined with musculoskeletal modeling and optimization, then used as input to an elliptical femoral neck cross-sectional model to estimate femoral neck stress. Peak stress values at the 2 peaks of the bimodal stress curves (stress vs time plot) were compared between stair ascent and descent. Stair ascent had greater compressive stress than descent during the first peak at the anterior (ascent: −18.0 [7.9] MPa, descent: −12.9 [5.4] MPa, P < .001) and posterior (ascent: −34.4 [10.9] MPa, descent: −27.8 [10.1] MPa, P < .001) aspects of the femoral neck cross section. Stair descent had greater tensile stress during both peaks at the superior aspect (ascent: 1.3 [7.0] MPa, descent: 24.8 [9.7] MPa, peak 1: P < .001; ascent: 15.7 [6.1] MPa, descent: 18.0 [8.4] MPa, peak 2: P = .03) and greater compressive stress during the second peak at the inferior aspect (ascent: −43.8 [9.7] MPa, descent: −51.1 [14.3] MPa, P = .004). Understanding this information can provide a more comprehensive view of bone loading at the femoral neck for older population.

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Joseph Hamill, Graham E. Caldwell, and Timothy R. Derrick

Researchers must be cognizant of the frequency content of analog signals that they are collecting. Knowing the frequency content allows the researcher to determine the minimum sampling frequency of the data (Nyquist critical frequency), ensuring that the digital data will have all of the frequency characteristics of the original signal. The Nyquist critical frequency is 2 times greater than the highest frequency in the signal. When sampled at a rate above the Nyquist, the digital data will contain all of the frequency characteristics of the original signal but may not present a correct time-series representation of the signal. In this paper, an algorithm known as Shannon's Sampling Theorem is presented that correctly reconstructs the time-series profile of any signal sampled above the Nyquist critical frequency. This method is superior to polynomial or spline interpolation techniques in that it can reconstruct peak values found in the original signal but missing from the sampled data time-series.

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W. Brent Edwards, Timothy R. Derrick, and Joseph Hamill

Shock waves resulting from the foot-ground impact are attenuated by biological tissues within the body. It has been suggested that the primary site for shock attenuation is the knee joint. The purpose of this study was to determine if knee flexion affects the filtering characteristics of the musculoskeletal system in response to impacts. Impacts were delivered to 10 participants during inline skating on a treadmill at 2.0 m/s. Four knee angle conditions (0, 10, 20, and 30 degrees) were investigated using real-time visual feedback of motion capture data. Shock attenuation between the leg and head was determined using accelerometry. The cutoff frequency of the body was determined by progressive filtering of the leg acceleration until differences between head acceleration and filtered leg acceleration were minimized. A nonlinear increase in shock attenuation (p < .001) and a nonlinear decrease in the cutoff frequency of the body (p < .001) were observed as the knee became more flexed. These results suggest that the knee joint acts as a low-pass filter allowing greater shock attenuation with increased knee flexion. Flexing the knee may shift the shock-attenuating responsibilities away from passive biological tissue toward active muscular contraction.

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Joseph Hamill, Kathleen M. Knutzen, and Timothy R. Derrick

In the last 40 years, biomechanics has progressed significantly as a subdiscipline within kinesiology. The development of national and international societies dedicated to biomechanics and the increase in the number of scientific biomechanics journals has led to a growth in the biomechanics community. In the last few decades, the research focus in biomechanics has broadened substantially. With this diversity of focus, there have been many novel developments in new technologies used in biomechanics. Biomechanics has become an integral subdiscipline that has interfaced with several other areas in kinesiology and has contributed significantly to enhancing the knowledge base in all areas. Much of the development of biomechanics has resulted from improvements in the technology used in movement research. Although it may be overreaching to say that biomechanics can solve many human movement problems, the technology has allowed researchers to at least answer more comprehensive questions and answer them in greater depth.

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Boyi Dai, Christopher J. Sorensen, Timothy R. Derrick, and Jason C. Gillette

The effects of training on biomechanical risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries have been investigated, but the effects of detraining have received little attention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a one-month postseason break on knee biomechanics and lower extremity electromyography (EMG) during a stop-jump task. A postseason break is the phase between two seasons when no regular training routines are performed. Twelve NCAA female volleyball players participated in two stop-jump tests before and after the postseason break. Knee kinematics, kinetics, quadriceps EMG, and hamstring EMG were assessed. After one month of postseason break, the players demonstrated significantly decreased jump height, decreased initial knee flexion angle, decreased knee flexion angle at peak anterior tibial resultant force, decreased prelanding vastus lateralis EMG, and decreased prelanding biceps femoris EMG as compared with prebreak. No significant differences were observed for frontal plane biomechanics and quadriceps and hamstring landing EMG between prebreak and postbreak. Although it is still unknown whether internal ACL loading changes after a postseason break, the more extended knee movement pattern may present an increased risk factor for ACL injuries.

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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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Jason C. Gillette, Catherine A. Stevermer, Stacey A. Meardon, Timothy R. Derrick, and Charles V. Schwab

Farm youth commonly perform animal care tasks such as feeding and watering. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of age, bucket size, loading symmetry, and amount of load on upper body moments during carrying tasks. Fifty-four male and female participants in four age groups (8–10 years, 12–14 years, 15–17 years, and adults, 20–26 years) participated in the study. Conditions included combinations of large or small bucket sizes, unilateral or bilateral loading, and load levels of 10% or 20% of body weight (BW). During bucket carrying, elbow flexion, shoulder flexion, shoulder abduction, shoulder external rotation, L5/S1 extension, L5/S1 lateral bending, and L5/S1 axial rotation moments were estimated using video data. The 8–10 year-old group did not display higher proportional joint moments as compared with adults. Decreasing the load from 20% BW to 10% BW significantly decreased maximum normalized elbow flexion, shoulder flexion, shoulder abduction, shoulder external rotation, L5/S1 lateral bending, and L5/S1 axial rotation moments. Carrying the load bilaterally instead of unilaterally also significantly reduced these six maximum normalized joint moments. In addition, modifying the carrying task by using smaller one-gallon buckets produced significant reductions in maximum L5/S1 lateral bending moments.