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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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Benjamin W. Infantolino, Daniel J. Gales, Samantha L. Winter and John H. Challis

The purpose of this study was to validate ultrasound muscle volume estimation in vivo. To examine validity, vastus lateralis ultrasound images were collected from cadavers before muscle dissection; after dissection, the volumes were determined by hydrostatic weighing. Seven thighs from cadaver specimens were scanned using a 7.5-MHz ultrasound probe (SSD-1000, Aloka, Japan). The perimeter of the vastus lateralis was identified in the ultrasound images and manually digitized. Volumes were then estimated using the Cavalieri principle, by measuring the image areas of sets of parallel two-dimensional slices through the muscles. The muscles were then dissected from the cadavers, and muscle volume was determined via hydrostatic weighing. There was no statistically significant difference between the ultrasound estimation of muscle volume and that estimated using hydrostatic weighing (p > 0.05). The mean percentage error between the two volume estimates was 0.4% ± 6.9. Three operators all performed four digitizations of all images from one randomly selected muscle; there was no statistical difference between operators or trials and the intraclass correlation was high (>0.8). The results of this study indicate that ultrasound is an accurate method for estimating muscle volumes in vivo.

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Stefan C. Garcia, Jeffrey J. Dueweke and Christopher L. Mendias

Context: Manual isometric muscle testing is a common clinical technique used to assess muscle strength. To provide the most accurate data for the test, the muscle being assessed should be at a length in which it produces maximum force. However, there is tremendous variability in the recommended positions and joint angles used to conduct these tests, with few apparent objective data used to position the joint such that muscle-force production is greatest. Objective: To use validated anatomically and biomechanically based musculoskeletal models to identify the optimal joint positions in which to perform manual isometric testing. Design: In silico analysis. Main outcome measure: The joint position which produces maximum muscle force for 49 major limb and trunk muscles. Results: The optimal joint position for performing a manual isometric test was determined. Conclusion: Using objective anatomical models that take into account the force-length properties of muscles, the authors identified joint positions in which net muscle-force production was predicted to be maximal. This data can help health care providers to better assess muscle function when manual isometric strength tests are performed.

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Steven Rowson, Jonathan G. Beckwith, Jeffrey J. Chu, Daniel S. Leonard, Richard M. Greenwald and Stefan M. Duma

The high incidence rate of concussions in football provides a unique opportunity to collect biomechanical data to characterize mild traumatic brain injury. The goal of this study was to validate a six degree of freedom (6DOF) measurement device with 12 single-axis accelerometers that uses a novel algorithm to compute linear and angular head accelerations for each axis of the head. The 6DOF device can be integrated into existing football helmets and is capable of wireless data transmission. A football helmet equipped with the 6DOF device was fitted to a Hybrid III head instrumented with a 9 accelerometer array. The helmet was impacted using a pneumatic linear impactor. Hybrid III head accelerations were compared with that of the 6DOF device. For all impacts, peak Hybrid III head accelerations ranged from 24 g to 176 g and 1,506 rad/s2 to 14,431 rad/s2. Average errors for peak linear and angular head acceleration were 1% ± 18% and 3% ± 24%, respectively. The average RMS error of the temporal response for each impact was 12.5 g and 907 rad/s2.

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Laura Seidl, Danijel Tosovic and J. Mark Brown

Whole muscle mechanomyography (MMG) has gained considerable interest in recent years for its ability to noninvasively determine muscle contractile properties (ie, contraction time [Tc], half-relaxation time [1/2Tr], and maximal displacement [Dmax)]). The aim of this study was to evaluate the test-retest reliability of two fairly novel MMG transducers: a laser-displacement sensor (LDS) and contact-displacement sensor (CDS). MMG was conducted on the rectus femoris muscle of 30 healthy individuals on 4 separate occasions. Test-retest reliability was quantified using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Both sensors were reliable for time-derived parameters Tc (ICCs, 0.85–0.88) and 1/2Tr (0.77–0.89), with Dmax identified as the most reproducible parameter (0.89–0.94). The 2 sensors produced similar Tc and Dmax measures, although significant (P < .05) systematic bias was identified with the CDS recording higher mean values, on average. However, these differences may not be considered clinically significant. The wide limits of agreement identified between 1/2Tr measures (–19.0 ms and 25.2 ms) are considered unreliable from a clinical perspective. Overall, MMG demonstrated good-to-excellent reliability for the assessment of muscle contractile properties with no significant differences identified between sessions, thus further validating its applicability as a noninvasive measure of muscle contractile properties.

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Aaron Chin, David Lloyd, Jacqueline Alderson, Bruce Elliott and Peter Mills

The predominance of upper-limb elbow models have been based on earlier lower-limb motion analysis models. We developed and validated a functionally based 2 degree-of-freedom upper-limb model to measure rotations of the forearm using a marker-based approach. Data were collected from humans and a mechanical arm with known axes and ranges of angular motion in 3 planes. This upper-limb model was compared with an anatomically based model following the proposed ISB standardization. Location of the axes of rotation relative to each other was determined in vivo. Data indicated that the functional model was not influenced by cross-talk from adduction-abduction, accurately measuring flexion-extension and pronation-supination. The functional flexion-extension axis in vivo is angled at 6.6° to the anatomical line defined from the humeral medial to lateral epicondyles. The pronation-supination axis intersected the anatomically defined flexion-extension axis at 88.1°. Influence of cross-talk on flexion-extension kinematics in the anatomical model was indicated by strong correlation between flexion-extension and adduction-abduction angles for tasks performed by the subjects. The proposed functional model eliminated cross-talk by sharing a common flexion axis between the humerus and forearm. In doing so, errors due to misalignment of axes are minimized providing greater accuracy in kinematic data.

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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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Jaclyn B. Caccese, Thomas A. Buckley and Thomas W. Kaminski

The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) is often used for sport-related concussion balance assessment. However, moderate intratester and intertester reliability may cause low initial sensitivity, suggesting that a more objective balance assessment method is needed. The MobileMat BESS was designed for objective BESS scoring, but the outcome measures must be validated with reliable balance measures. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to compare MobileMat BESS scores to linear and nonlinear measures of balance. Eighty-eight healthy collegiate student-athletes (age: 20.0 ± 1.4 y, height: 177.7 ± 10.7 cm, mass: 74.8 ± 13.7 kg) completed the MobileMat BESS. MobileMat BESS scores were compared with 95% area, sway velocity, approximate entropy, and sample entropy. MobileMat BESS scores were significantly correlated with 95% area for single-leg (r = .332) and tandem firm (r = .474), and double-leg foam (r = .660); and with sway velocity for single-leg (r = .406) and tandem firm (r = .601), and double-leg (r = .575) and single-leg foam (r = .434). MobileMat BESS scores were not correlated with approximate or sample entropy. MobileMat BESS scores were low to moderately correlated with linear measures, suggesting the ability to identify changes in the center of mass–center of pressure relationship, but not higher-order processing associated with nonlinear measures. These results suggest that the MobileMat BESS may be a clinically-useful tool that provides objective linear balance measures.

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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.