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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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Sean P. Flanagan and George J. Salem

In the analysis of human movement, researchers often sum individual joint kinetics to obtain a single measure of lower extremity function. The extent to which these summed measures relate to the mechanical objectives of the task has not been formally validated. The criterion validity of these measures was established with comparisons to the mechanical objective of two multiple-joint tasks. For the Work task 18 participants performed a loaded barbell squat using 4 resistances while instrumented for biomechanical analysis. For the Power they performed 2 predetermined amounts of work at both self-selected and fast speeds. Using inverse dynamics techniques, the peak net joint moment (PM) was calculated bilaterally in the sagittal plane at the ankle, knee, and hip and was summed into a single measure. This measure was correlated with the task objectives using simple linear regression. Similar procedures were used for the average net joint moment (AM), peak (PP), and average (AP) net joint moment power, and the net joint moment impulse (IM) and work (IP). For the Work task all 6 measures were significantly correlated with the task objective, but only AM, PM, and IP had correlation coefficients above 0.90. For the Power task, IM was not significantly correlated with the task objective, and only AP had a correlation coefficient above 0.90. These findings indicate that the validity of summing individual kinetic measures depends on both the measure chosen and the mechanical objective of the task.

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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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Jeremy R. Dicus and Jeff G. Seegmiller

Few ankle inversion studies have taken anticipation bias into account or collected data with an experimental design that mimics actual injury mechanisms. Twenty-three participants performed randomized single-leg vertical drop landings from 20 cm. Subjects were blinded to the landing surface (a flat force plate or 30° inversion wedge on the force plate). After each trial, participants reported whether they anticipated the landing surface. Participant responses were validated with EMG data. The protocol was repeated until four anticipated and four unanticipated landings onto the inversion wedge were recorded. Results revealed a significant main effect for landing condition. Normalized vertical ground reaction force (% body weights), maximum ankle inversion (degrees), inversion velocity (degrees/second), and time from contact to peak muscle activation (seconds) were significantly greater in unanticipated landings, and the time from peak muscle activation to maximum VGRF (second) was shorter. Unanticipated landings presented different muscle activation patterns than landings onto anticipated surfaces, which calls into question the usefulness of clinical studies that have not controlled for anticipation bias.

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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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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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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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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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Louis A. DiBerardino III, Chantal A. Ragetly, Sungjin Hong, Dominique J. Griffon and Elizabeth T. Hsiao-Wecksler

The regions of deviation method has been proposed as a technique for identifying regions of the gait cycle where joint motion deviates from normal (Shorter et al., 2008). The original statistical analysis distinguished only peak values during stance and swing. In the current article, we extend the approach by examining deviations from normal throughout the entire gait cycle using pointwise t tests. These methods were demonstrated on hind-limb joint angles of 21 Labrador Retrievers without and with cranial cruciate ligament disease. Results were compared with peak difference analysis previously performed on these subjects. All points in the gait cycle where symmetry deviations were significantly affected by cranial cruciate ligament disease (via pointwise t tests) were defined as regions of deviation from symmetry. Discriminant function analysis was used to consider single subjects and validate that these regions were truly areas of difference between groups. Regions of deviation encompassed previously determined significant peak differences, while extending analysis to additional areas of asymmetry. Discriminant function analysis suggested that the region of deviation method is a viable approach for distinguishing motion pattern differences. This enhanced method may help researchers better understand the mechanisms behind lameness and compensation.

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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.