Research suggests that heightened impacts, altered joint movement patterns, and changes in friction coefficient from the use of artificial surfaces in sport increase the prevalence of overuse injuries. The purposes of this study were to (a) develop procedures to assess a tennis-specific movement, (b) characterize the ground reaction force (GRF) impact phases of the movement, and (c) assess human response during impact with changes in common playing surfaces. In relation to the third purpose it was hypothesized that surfaces with greatest mechanical cushioning would yield lower impact forces (PkFz) and rates of loading. Six shod volunteers performed 8 running forehand trials on each surface condition: baseline, carpet, acrylic, and artificial turf. Force plate (960 Hz) and kinematic data (120 Hz) were collected simultaneously for each trial. Running forehand foot plants are typically characterized by 3 peaks in vertical GRF prior to a foot-off peak. Group mean PkFz was significantly lower and peak braking force was significantly higher on the baseline surface compared with the other three test surfaces (p < 0.05). No significant changes in initial kinematics were found to explain unexpected PkFz results. The baseline surface yielded a significantly higher coefficient of friction compared with the other three test surfaces (p < 0.05). While the hypothesis is rejected, biomechanical analysis has revealed changes in surface type with regard to GRF variables.
Victoria H. Stiles and Sharon J. Dixon
Alex V. Rowlands, John M. Schuna Jr., Victoria H. Stiles and Catrine Tudor-Locke
Previous research has reported peak vertical acceleration and peak loading rate thresholds beneficial to bone mineral density (BMD). Such thresholds are difficult to translate into meaningful recommendations for physical activity. Cadence (steps/min) is a more readily interpretable measure of ambulatory activity.
To examine relationships between cadence, peak vertical acceleration and peak loading rate during ambulation and identify the cadence associated with previously reported bone-beneficial thresholds for peak vertical acceleration (4.9 g) and peak loading rate (43 BW/s).
Ten participants completed 8 trials each of: slow walking, brisk walking, slow running, and fast running. Acceleration data were captured using a GT3×+ accelerometer worn at the hip. Peak loading rate was collected via a force plate.
Strong relationships were identified between cadence and peak vertical acceleration (r = .96, P < .05) and peak loading rate (r = .98, P < .05). Regression analyses indicated cadences of 157 ± 12 steps/min (2.6 ± 0.2 steps/s) and 122 ± 10 steps/min (2.0 ± 0.2 steps/s) corresponded with the 4.9 g peak vertical acceleration and 43 BW/s peak loading rate thresholds, respectively.
Cadences ≥ 2.0 to 2.6 steps/s equate to acceleration and loading rate thresholds related to bone health. Further research is needed to investigate whether the frequency of daily occurrences of this cadence is associated with BMD.
Victoria H. Stiles, Igor N. Guisasola, Iain T. James and Sharon J. Dixon
Integrated biomechanical and engineering assessments were used to determine how humans responded to variations in turf during running and turning. Ground reaction force (AMTI, 960 Hz) and kinematic data (Vicon Peak Motus, 120 Hz) were collected from eight participants during running (3.83 m/s) and turning (10 trials per condition) on three natural turf surfaces in the laboratory. Surface hardness (Clegg hammer) and shear strength (cruciform shear vane) were measured before and after participant testing. Peak loading rate during running was significantly higher (p < .05) on the least hard surface (sandy; 101.48 BW/s ± 23.3) compared with clay (84.67 BW/s ± 22.9). There were no significant differences in running kinematics. Compared with the “medium” condition, fifth MTP impact velocities during turning were significantly (RM-ANOVA, p < .05) lower on clay (resultant: 2.30 m/s [± 0.68] compared with 2.64 m/s [± 0.70]), which was significantly (p < .05) harder “after” and had the greatest shear strength both “before” and “after” participant testing. This unique finding suggests that further study of foot impact velocities are important to increase understanding of overuse injury mechanisms.