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Joseph Hamill, George Gorton, and Peter Masso

Biomechanics is defined as the application of the laws of mechanics to the study or structure and function of movement. It is a relatively new subdiscipline to the domain of kinesiology. Biomechanics was initially closely associated with the study of sports technique. However, over the years, biomechanics has taken on a much more diverse field of study. In this paper, we will describe the contributions that biomechanics has made to the area of clinical biomechanics research in terms of clinical assessment and outcomes and the design of clinical apparatus. The first example examines a clinical assessment of a cerebral palsy child. The goals of such a clinical assessment are 1) to determine the primary problems with the locomotion capabilities of the individual, 2) to recommend treatment options, and 3) to evaluate treatment outcomes. In the second example, a procedure is described for designing braces for scoliosis patients. For this example, a three-dimensional digital twin is developed using a scanning technique. This example illustrates the research conducted on developing a technique to noninvasively and safely determine the torso deformities resulting from scoliosis. While these examples are but two of a wide variety of examples that could be used, they illustrate the contribution of biomechanics to the clinical world.

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Rafael Bahamonde

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Sarah P. Shultz, Jinsup Song, Andrew P. Kraszewski, Jocelyn F. Hafer, Smita Rao, Sherry Backus, Rajshree M. Hillstrom, and Howard J. Hillstrom

.1097/00124743-199512000-00001 19078008 23. Root ML . Normal and Abnormal Function of the Foot. 1st ed . Los Angeles, CA : Clinical Biomechanics Corp. ; 1977 . 24. Song J , Hillstrom HJ , Secord D , Leavitt J . Foot type biomechanics: comparison of planus and rectus foot types . J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 1996 ; 86

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Ram Haddas, Steven F. Sawyer, Phillip S. Sizer, Toby Brooks, Ming-Chien Chyu, and C. Roger James


Recurrent lower back pain (rLBP) and neuromuscular fatigue are independently thought to increase the risk of lower extremity (LE) injury. Volitional preemptive abdominal contraction (VPAC) is thought to improve lumbar spine and pelvis control in individuals with rLBP. The effects of VPAC on fatigued landing performance in individuals with rLBP are unknown.


To determine the effects of VPAC and LE fatigue on landing performance in a rLBP population.


Cross-sectional pretest-posttest cohort control design.


A clinical biomechanics laboratory.


32 rLBP (age 21.2 ± 2.7 y) but without current symptoms and 33 healthy (age 20.9 ± 2.3 y) subjects.


(i) Volitional preemptive abdominal contraction using abdominal bracing and (ii) fatigue using submaximal free-weight squat protocol with 15% body weight until task failure was achieved.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Knee and ankle angles, moments, electromyographic measurements from semitendinosus and vastus medialis muscles, and ground reaction force (GRF) were collected during 0.30 m drop-jump landings.


The VPAC resulted in significantly earlier muscle onsets across all muscles with and without fatigue in both groups (mean ± SD, 0.063 ± 0.016 s earlier; P ≤ .001). Fatigue significantly delayed semitendinosus muscle onsets (0.033 ± 0.024 s later; P ≤ .001), decreased GRF (P ≤ .001), and altered landing kinematics in a variety of ways. The rLBP group exhibited delayed semitendinosus and vastus medialis muscle onsets (0.031 ± 0.028 s later; P ≤ .001) and 1.8° less knee flexion at initial contact (P ≤ .008).


The VPAC decreases some of the detrimental effects of fatigue on landing biomechanics and thus may reduce LE injury risk in a rLBP population.

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Walter L. Jenkins, Dorsey Shelton Williams, Alex Durland, Brandon Adams, and Kevin O’Brien

The use of foot orthoses has been evaluated during a variety of functional activities. Twelve college-aged active females wore two types of foot orthoses and performed a vertical jump to determine the biomechanical effect of the orthoses on lower extremity transverse plane movement during landing. Data collection included three-dimensional analysis of the tibia, knee, and hip. A repeated-measures ANOVA was performed to determine the differences between no orthoses, over-the-counter, and custom-made orthoses with transverse plane motion. At the hip joint, there was significantly less internal rotation (p < .05) in the over-the-counter condition as compared with the no orthoses condition. There was significantly less tibial internal rotation (p < .05) in the custom-made condition as compared with no orthoses. Over-the-counter devices decreased transverse plane motion at the hip, whereas custom-made devices decreased transverse plane motion of the tibia.

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Oscar Martel, Juan F. Cárdenes, Gerardo Garcés, and José A. Carta

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is one of the most important aspects of knee surgery. For this purpose, several fixation devices have been developed, although the interference screw is the most frequently used. The most typical biomechanical test of these devices consists of placing them in a testing machine and subjecting them to a pull-out test. However, insufficient attention has been paid to the influence of the displacement test rate on the mechanical properties of the fixation system. The aim of this study is to compare the influence of the crosshead rate in the biomechanical test of two different devices for the fixation of ACL tendon grafts. One hundred in vitro tests were performed using porcine tibiae and bovine tendons. The fixation devices used were (1) an interference screw and (2) a new expansion device. All ACL reconstructions were subjected to pull-out test to failure. Five crosshead rates were employed in a range from 30 mm/min to 4000 mm/min. Statistical analyses of the results show that, for the two devices, the rate has a significant effect on both maximum force and stiffness. Moreover, the new expansion device showed lesser dependency on the crosshead rate than the interference screw.

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Christopher Napier, Christopher L. MacLean, Jessica Maurer, Jack E. Taunton, and Michael A. Hunt

High magnitudes and rates of loading have been implicated in the etiology of running-related injuries. Knowledge of kinematic variables that are predictive of kinetic outcomes could inform clinic-based gait retraining programs. Healthy novice female runners ran on a treadmill while 3-dimensional biomechanical data were collected. Kinetic outcomes consisted of vertical impact transient, average vertical loading rate, instantaneous vertical loading rate, and peak braking force. Kinematic outcomes included step length), hip flexion angle at initial contact, horizontal distance from heel to center of mass at initial contact, shank angle at initial contact, and foot strike angle. Stepwise multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the amount of variance in kinetic outcomes explained by kinematic outcomes. A moderate amount of variance in kinetic outcomes (vertical impact transient = 46%, average vertical loading rate = 37%, instantaneous vertical loading rate = 49%, peak braking force = 54%) was explained by several discrete kinematic variables—predominantly speed, horizontal distance from heel to center of mass, foot strike angle, and step length. Hip flexion angle and shank angle did not contribute to any models. Decreasing step length and transitioning from a rearfoot strike may reduce kinetic risk factors for running-related injuries. In contrast, clinical strategies such as modifying shank angle and hip flexion angle would not appear to contribute significantly to the variance of kinetic outcomes after accounting for other variables.

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David R. Howell, Jessie R. Oldham, Melissa DiFabio, Srikant Vallabhajosula, Eric E. Hall, Caroline J. Ketcham, William P. Meehan III, and Thomas A. Buckley

Gait impairments have been documented following sport-related concussion. Whether preexisting gait pattern differences exist among athletes who participate in different sport classifications, however, remains unclear. Dual-task gait examinations probe the simultaneous performance of everyday tasks (ie, walking and thinking), and can quantify gait performance using inertial sensors. The purpose of this study was to compare the single-task and dual-task gait performance of collision/contact and noncontact athletes. A group of collegiate athletes (n = 265) were tested before their season at 3 institutions (mean age= 19.1 ± 1.1 years). All participants stood still (single-task standing) and walked while simultaneously completing a cognitive test (dual-task gait), and completed walking trials without the cognitive test (single-task gait). Spatial-temporal gait parameters were compared between collision/contact and noncontact athletes using MANCOVAs; cognitive task performance was compared using ANCOVAs. No significant single-task or dual-task gait differences were found between collision/contact and noncontact athletes. Noncontact athletes demonstrated higher cognitive task accuracy during single-task standing (P = .001) and dual-task gait conditions (P = .02) than collision/contact athletes. These data demonstrate the utility of a dual-task gait assessment outside of a laboratory and suggest that preinjury cognitive task performance during dual-tasks may differ between athletes of different sport classifications.

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Mary Emily Littrell, Young-Hui Chang, and Brian P. Selgrade

Clinically, measuring gait kinematics and ground reaction force (GRF) is useful to determine the effectiveness of treatment. However, it is inconvenient and expensive to maintain a laboratory-grade gait analysis system in most clinics. The purpose of this study was to validate a Wii Balance Board, Kinovea motion-tracking software, and a video camera as a portable, low-cost system, and overground gait analysis system. We validated this low-cost system against a multicamera Vicon system and research-grade force platform (Advanced Mechanical Technology, Inc). After validation trials with known weights and angles, 5 subjects walked across an instrumented walkway for multiple times (n = 8/subject). We collected vertical GRF and segment angles. Average GRF data from the 2 systems were similar, with peak GRF errors below 3.5%BW. However, variability in the balance board’s sampling rate led to large GRF errors early and late in stance, when the GRF changed rapidly. The thigh, shank, and foot angle measurements were similar between the single and multicamera, but the pelvis angle was far less accurate. The proposed system has the potential to provide accurate segment angles and peak GRF at low cost but does not match the accuracy of the multicamera system and force platform, in part because of the Wii Balance Board’s variable sampling rate.

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Seth T. Strayer, Seyed Reza M. Moghaddam, Beth Gusenoff, Jeffrey Gusenoff, and Kurt E. Beschorner

Pressure offloading is critical to diabetic foot ulcer healing and prevention. A novel product has been proposed to achieve this offloading with an insole that can be easily modified for each user. This insole consists of pressurized bubbles that can be selectively perforated and depressurized to redistribute weight to the nonulcer region of the foot. However, the effect of the insole design parameters, for example, bubble height and stiffness, on offloading effectiveness is unknown. To this end, a 3-dimensional finite element model was developed to simulate contact between the rearfoot and insole. The geometry of the calcaneus bone and soft tissue was based on the medical images of an average male patient, and material properties and loading conditions based on the values reported in the literature were used. The model predicts that increasing bubble height and stiffness leads to a more effectively offloaded region. However, the model also predicts that increasing stiffness leads to increasing contact pressures on the surrounding soft tissue. Thus, a combination of insole design parameters was determined, which completely offloads the desired region, while simultaneously reducing the contact pressure on the surrounding soft tissue. This design is expected to aid in diabetic foot ulcer healing and prevention.