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Gianluca Gatti

This article presents the validation of a technique to assess the appropriateness of a 2 degree-of-freedom model for the human knee, and, in which case, the dominant axes of flexion/extension and internal/external longitudinal rotation are estimated. The technique relies on the use of an instrumented spatial linkage for the accurate detection of passive knee kinematics, and it is based on the assumption that points on the longitudinal rotation axis describe nearly circular and planar trajectories, whereas the flexion/extension axis is perpendicular to those trajectories through their centers of rotation. By manually enforcing a tibia rotation while bending the knee in flexion, a standard optimization algorithm is used to estimate the approximate axis of longitudinal rotation, and the axis of flexion is estimated consequently. The proposed technique is validated through simulated data and experimentally applied on a 2 degree-of-freedom mechanical joint. A procedure is proposed to verify the fixed axes assumption for the knee model. The suggested methodology could be possibly valuable in understanding knee kinematics, and in particular for the design and implant of customized hinged external fixators, which have shown to be effective in knee dislocation treatment and rehabilitation.

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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.