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Boris I. Prilutsky

In this response, the major criticisms of the target article are addressed. Terminology from the target article that may have caused some confusion is clarified. In particular, the tasks that have the basic features of muscle coordination, as identified in the target article, have been limited in scope. Anew metabolic optimization criterion suggested by Alexander (2000) is examined for its ability to predict muscle coordination in walking. Issues concerning the validation of muscle force predictions, the rules of muscle coordination, and the role of directional constraints in coordination of two-joint muscles are discussed. It is shown in particular that even in one-joint systems, the forces predicted by the criterion of Crowninshield and Brand (1981) depend upon the muscle moment arms and the physiological cross-sectional areas in much more complex ways than either previously assumed in the target article, or incorrectly derived by Herzog and Ait-Haddou (2000). It is concluded that the criterion of Crowninshield and Brand qualitatively predicts the basic coordination features of the major one- and two-joint muscles in a number of highly skilled, repetitive motor tasks performed by humans under predictable conditions and little demands on stability and accuracy. A possible functional significance of such muscle coordination may be the minimization of perceived effort, muscle fatigue, and/or energy expenditure.

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Jonathon S. Schofield, Eric Parent, Justin Lewicke, Jason P. Carey, Marwan El-Rich and Samer Adeeb

Sit-to-stand transfer is a common prerequisite for many daily tasks. Literature often assumes symmetric behavior across the left and right side. Although this assumption of bilateral symmetry is prominent, few studies have validated this supposition. This pilot study uniquely quantifies peak joint moments and ground reaction forces (GRFs), using a Euclidian norm approach, to evaluate bilateral symmetry and its relation to lower limb motor-dominance during sit to stand in ten healthy males. Peak joint moments and GRFs were determined using a motion capture system and inverse dynamics. This analysis included joint moment contributions from all three body planes (sagittal, coronal, and axial) as well as vertical and shearing GRFs. A paired, one-tailed t test was used, suggesting asymmetrical joint moment development in all three lower extremity joints as well as GRFs (P < .05). Furthermore, using an unpaired two-tailed t test, asymmetry developed during these movements does not appear to be predictable by participants’ lower limb motor-dominance (P < .025). Consequently, when evaluating sit-to-stand it is suggested the effects of asymmetry be considered in the interpretation of data. The absence of a relationship between dominance and asymmetry prevents the suggestion that one side can be tested to infer behavior of the contralateral.

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Sabrina S.M. Lee, Gregory S. Lewis and Stephen J. Piazza

The accuracy of an algorithm for the automated tracking of tendon excursion from ultrasound images was tested in three experiments. Because the automated method could not be tested against direct measurements of tendon excursion in vivo, an indirect validation procedure was employed. In one experiment, a wire “phantom” was moved a known distance across the ultrasound probe and the automated tracking results were compared with the known distance. The excursion of the musculotendinous junction of the gastrocnemius during frontal and sagittal plane movement of the ankle was assessed in a single cadaver specimen both by manual tracking and with a cable extensometer sutured to the gastrocnemius muscle. A third experiment involved estimation of Achilles tendon excursion in vivo with both manual and automated tracking. Root mean squared (RMS) error was calculated between pairs of measurements after each test. Mean RMS errors of less than 1 mm were observed for the phantom experiments. For the in vitro experiment, mean RMS errors of 8–9% of the total tendon excursion were observed. Mean RMS errors of 6–8% of the total tendon excursion were found in vivo. The results indicate that the proposed algorithm accurately tracks Achilles tendon excursion, but further testing is necessary to determine its general applicability.

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Mark L. McMulkin, Jeffrey C. Woldstad and Richard E. Hughes

Biomechanical optimization models are often used to estimate muscular and intervertebral disc forces during physical exertions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an optimization-based biomechanical model predicts torso muscular activity of males and females equally well. The Minimum Intensity Compression (MIC) model, which has been extensively applied in industrial ergonomic task analysis, was used to estimate muscle forces for 3D moments. Participants (6 M, 6 F) performed 18 isometric exertions resisting 3D L3/L4 moments while electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded for 8 muscles. Overall, model force estimates correlated better with male EMG activity (R 2 = 0.43) than with female EMG activity (R 2 = 0.33). Model force estimates of 4 muscles (LRA, RRA, REO, and RES) correlated better with male EMG activity than with female EMG. We conclude that trunk muscle forces estimated by current biomechanical modeling do not correlate equally well to male and female EMG activity. Future research needs to address validation or improvement of biomechanical trunk models for females.

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Suzanne LaScalza, Linda N. Gallo, James E. Carpenter and Richard E. Hughes

Clinical observation suggests that shoulder pathologies such as rotator cuff disorders and shoulder instability may alter the normal shoulder rhythm or relative motions of the structures comprising the shoulder girdle. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of using a skin-mounted humeral cuff that could be used in vivo to determine Euler rotation angles and the helical axis of motion (HAM) during upper extremity movements. An in vitro model was used to compare the kinematics determined from the externally applied humeral cuff to the kinematics measured directly from the humerus. The upper extremities of five cadavers were moved through several humerus and forearm motion trials. Measurements from the humeral cuff were compared directly to the bone measurements for all trials to determine the accuracy of the Euler rotation angles. In evaluating the HAM, the orientation, location, and magnitude of rotation were compared either to the bone measurements or to the known rotational axis of the testing fixture. Euler rotation angles and the helical axis of motion determined by the measurements taken from the skin-mounted humeral cuff were very similar to those using the measurements from the bone-mounted sensor. The humeral cuff was shown to provide a viable, noninvasive method for determining the Euler rotation angles and helical axis of motion during 3-D humeral movements. The validation makes the humeral cuff a valuable tool for examining the effect of shoulder pathologies on the kinematics of the upper extremity.

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Kyoung-Seok Yoo, Hyun-Kyung Kim and Jin-Hoon Park

The present study examined the technical characteristics of sliding performance from push-off until stone release in curling delivery. Five elite performance level curlers (> 7 years experience) and five subelite level curlers (< 3 years experience) were analyzed during the action of delivery of a curling stone. The joint angles, angular velocities, and moments of the body center of mass (COM) were determined based on three-dimensional kinematic data. The plantar pressure data were measured using a validated in-shoe system. The results indicated that the gliding time and horizontal velocity of the mass center of the body during the sliding phase were not significantly different between the elite and subelite groups. However, there were significant differences in the gliding distance and the rate of changes in velocity profiles of body COM between the two groups. The moment of the body COM from its relative position to the ankle of the support limb in the anterior/posterior direction was positive in elite curlers and negative in subelite curlers. In addition, larger ankle dorsiflexion and greater contact area of the sliding foot were observed in elite curlers. These data suggest a superior ability of elite curlers to maintain a regulated movement speed and balance control during the performance of a curling stone delivery.

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Anthony S. Kulas, Randy J. Schmitz, Sandra J. Shultz, Mary Allen Watson and David H. Perrin

Although leg spring stiffness represents active muscular recruitment of the lower extremity during dynamic tasks such as hopping and running, the joint-specific characteristics comprising the damping portion of this measure, leg impedance, are uncertain. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the relationship between leg impedance and energy absorption at the ankle, knee, and hip during early (impact) and late (stabilization) phases of landing. Twenty highly trained female dancers (age = 20.3 ± 1.4 years, height = 163.7 ± 6.0 cm, mass = 62.1 ± 8.1 kg) were instrumented for biomechanical analysis. Subjects performed three sets of double-leg landings from under preferred, stiff, and soft landing conditions. A stepwise linear regression analysis revealed that ankle and knee energy absorption at impact, and knee and hip energy absorption during the stabilization phases of landing explained 75.5% of the variance in leg impedance. The primary predictor of leg impedance was knee energy absorption during the stabilization phase, independently accounting for 55% of the variance. Future validation studies applying this regression model to other groups of individuals are warranted.

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Bernd J. Stetter, Erica Buckeridge, Vinzenz von Tscharner, Sandro R. Nigg and Benno M. Nigg

This study presents a new approach for automated identification of ice hockey skating strides and a method to detect ice contact and swing phases of individual strides by quantifying vibrations in 3D acceleration data during the blade–ice interaction. The strides of a 30-m forward sprinting task, performed by 6 ice hockey players, were evaluated using a 3D accelerometer fixed to a hockey skate. Synchronized plantar pressure data were recorded as reference data. To determine the accuracy of the new method on a range of forward stride patterns for temporal skating events, estimated contact times and stride times for a sequence of 5 consecutive strides was validated. Bland-Altman limits of agreement (95%) between accelerometer and plantar pressure derived data were less than 0.019 s. Mean differences between the 2 capture methods were shown to be less than 1 ms for contact and stride time. These results demonstrate the validity of the novel approach to determine strides, ice contact, and swing phases during ice hockey skating. This technology is accurate, simple, effective, and allows for in-field ice hockey testing.

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John F. Swigart, Arthur G. Erdman and Patrick J. Cain

A new method for quantifying shoe cushioning durability was developed. This method used a computer-controlled, closed-loop materials testing system to subject the shoes to force-time profiles that were indicative of running. The change in the magnitude of the maximum energy absorbed by a shoe and the change in the magnitude of the energy balance of the shoe were quantified after the shoe had been worn running for a given distance. A shoe that changed very little in these quantities had a small energy wear factor and was deemed to have durable cushioning. The test method was roughly validated through comparison of three shoes of different midsole constructions with known relative durabilities. The shoes were tested at four simulated running speeds for energy properties when they were new and after they were run in for 161 km. The relative durabilities of the tested shoes were consistent with expectations based on the shoes' materials and constructions, showing that the new method has promise in predicting shoe cushioning durability, and thus more complete studies of the method may prove useful.

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John H. Challis

This article presents and evaluates a new procedure that automatically determines the cutoff frequency for the low-pass filtering of biomechanical data. The cutoff frequency was estimated by exploiting the properties of the autocorrelation function of white noise. The new procedure systematically varies the cutoff frequency of a Butterworth filter until the signal representing the difference between the filtered and unfiltered data is the best approximation to white noise as assessed using the autocorrelation function. The procedure was evaluated using signals generated from mathematical functions. Noise was added to these signals so mat they approximated signals arising from me analysis of human movement. The optimal cutoff frequency was computed by finding the cutoff frequency that gave me smallest difference between the estimated and true signal values. The new procedure produced similar cutoff frequencies and root mean square differences to me optimal values, for me zeroth, first and second derivatives of the signals. On the data sets investigated, this new procedure performed very similarly to the generalized cross-validated quintic spline.