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Tim Blackmore, David Jessop, Stewart Bruce-Low and Joanna Scurr

Despite manufacturer claims that athletic socks attenuate force during exercise, no device exists to assess this. Therefore, this study outlines the development of a custom-built impact-testing device for assessing the cushioning properties of socks. The device used a gravity-driven impact striker (8.5 kg), released from 0.05 m, which impacted a no-sock, sock or a basic shoe/sock condition in the vertical axis. A load cell (10,000 Hz) assessed peak impact force, time to peak impact force and loading rate. Reliability was investigated between day, between trial and within trial. Excellent reliability (coefficient of variation < 5% adjusted for 95% confidence limits) was reported for peak impact force in all conditions, with no evidence of systematic bias. Good reliability (coefficient of variation < 10% adjusted for 68% confidence limits) was reported for time to peak impact force and loading rate with some evidence of systematic bias. It was concluded that the custom-built impact-testing device was reliable and sensitive for the measurement of peak impact force on socks.

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Arnel Aguinaldo and Andrew Mahar

This study evaluated the effects of running shoes—with two types of cushioning column systems—on impact force patterns during running. Kinematic and ground reaction force data were collected from 10 normal participants wearing shoes with the following cushions: 4-column multicellular urethane elastomer (Shoe 1), 4-column thermoplastic polyester elastomer (Shoe 2), and 1-unit EVA foam (Shoe 3). Participants exhibited significantly lower impact force (p = .02) and loading rate (p = .005) with Shoe 2 (1.84 ± 0.24 BW; 45.6 ± 11.6 BW/s) compared to Shoe 1 (1.94 ± 0.18 BW; 57.9 ± 12.1 BW/s). Both cushioning column shoes showed impact force characteristics similar to those of a top-model running shoe (Shoe 3), and improved cushioning performance over shoes previously tested in similar conditions. Alterations in impact force patterns induced by lower limb alignment and running speed were negligible since participants did not differ in ankle position, knee position, or speed during all shod running trials. Ankle plantarflexion, however, was higher for barefoot running, indicating an apparent midfoot strike. Mechanical testing of each shoe during physiologic, cyclic loading demonstrated that Shoe 3 had the greatest stiffness, followed by Shoe 2 and Shoe 1. Shoe 1 was the least stiff of the two shoes with cushioning column systems, yet it displayed a significantly higher impact loading rate during running, possibly due to rearfoot motion alterations induced by the stiffer shoe. This study showed that even in similar shoe types, impact force and loading rate values could vary significantly with midsole cushion constructions. The findings of this study suggest that using these newer running shoes may be effective for runners who want optimal cushioning during running.

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Piaolin Peng, Shaolan Ding, Zhikang Wang, Yifan Zhang and Jiahao Pan

questions still remain regarding the mechanical mechanism of running injuries, some scientific evidence has demonstrated that the high loading rate and impact force from foot strikes are associated with the development of specific running-related injuries, such as patellofemoral pain, tibial stress

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Gregory M. Gutierrez, Catherine Conte and Kristian Lightbourne

Head impacts are common in contact sports, but only recently has there been a rising awareness of the effects of subconcussive impacts in adolescent athletes. A better understanding of how to attenuate head impacts is needed and therefore, this study investigated the relationship between neck strength, impact, and neurocognitive function in an acute bout of soccer heading in a sample of female high school varsity soccer players. Seventeen participants completed the ImPACT neurocognitive test and had their isometric neck strength tested (flexion, extension, and bilateral flexion) before heading drills. Each participant was outfitted with custom headgear with timing switches and a three-dimensional accelerometer affixed to the back of the head, which allowed for measurement of impact during heading. Participants performed a series of 15 directional headers, including 5 forward, 5 left and 5 right headers in a random order, then completed the ImPACT test again. Neurocognitive tests revealed no significant changes following heading. However, there were statistically significant, moderate, negative correlations (r = −0.500:−0.757, p < .05) between neck strength and resultant header acceleration, indicating that those with weaker necks sustained greater impacts. This suggests neck strengthening may be an important component of any head injury prevention/reduction program.

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Kathy J. Simpson, Jae P. Yom, Yang-Chieh Fu, Scott W. Arnett, Sean O’Rourke and Cathleen N. Brown

The objective of the study was to determine if prophylactic ankle bracing worn by females during landings produces abnormal lower extremity mechanics. Angular kinematic and ground reaction force (GRF) data were obtained for 16 athletically experienced females who performed brace and no-brace drop landings. The brace condition displayed reduced in/external rotation and flexion displacements about the ankle and knee joints and increased vertical and mediolateral GRF peak magnitudes and rate of vertical GRF application (paired t test, P < .05). The ankle and knee joints landed in a less plantar flexed and more flexed position, respectively. No significant ab/adduction outcomes may have occurred due to interparticipant variability and/or a lack of brace restriction. Conclusion: During typical landings, this lace-up brace increases vertical GRF, decreases ankle and knee joint displacements of flexion and int/external rotation, but minimally affects ab/adduction displacements.

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Cloe Cummins and Rhonda Orr

Objective:

To investigate the impact forces of collision events during both attack and defense in elite rugby league match play and to compare the collision profiles between playing positions.

Participants:

26 elite rugby league players.

Methods:

Player collisions were recorded using an integrated accelerometer in global positioning system units (SPI-Pro X, GPSports). Impact forces of collisions in attack (hit-ups) and defense (tackles) were analyzed from 359 files from outside backs (n = 78), adjustables (n = 97), wide-running forwards (n = 136), and hit-up forwards (n = 48) over 1 National Rugby League season.

Results:

Hit-up forwards were involved in 0.8 collisions/min, significantly more than all other positional groups (wide-running forwards P = .050, adjustables P = .042, and outside backs P = .000). Outside backs experienced 25% fewer collisions per minute than hit-up forwards. Hit-up forwards experienced a collision within the 2 highest classifications of force (≥10 g) every 2.5 min of match play compared with 1 every 5 and 9 min for adjustables and outside backs, respectively. Hit-up forwards performed 0.5 tackles per minute of match play, 5 times that of outside backs (ES = 1.90; 95% CI [0.26,3.16]), and 0.2 hit-ups per minute of match play, twice as many as adjustables.

Conclusions:

During a rugby league match, players are exposed to a significant number of collision events. Positional differences exist, with hit-up and wide-running forwards experiencing greater collision events than adjustables and outside backs. Although these results may be unique to the individual team’s defensive- and attacking-play strategies, they are indicative of the significant collision profiles in professional rugby league.

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Alexander Bahlsen and Benno M. Nigg

Impact forces analysis in heel-toe running is often used to examine the reduction of impact forces for different running shoes and/or running techniques. Body mass is reported to be a dominant predictor of vertical impact force peaks. However, it is not evident whether this finding is only true for the real body mass or whether it is also true for additional masses attached to the body (e.g., running with additional weight or heavy shoes). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of additional mass on vertical impact force peaks and running style. Nineteen subjects (9 males, 10 females) with a mean mass of 74.2 kg/56.2 kg (SD = 10.0 kg and 6.0 kg) volunteered to participate in this study. Additional masses were attached to the shoe (.05 and .1 kg), the tibia (.2, .4, .6 kg), and the hip (5.9 and 10.7 kg). Force plate measurements and high-speed film data were analyzed. In this study the vertical impact force peaks, Fzi, were not affected by additional masses, the vertical active force peaks, Fza, were only affected by additional masses greater than 6 kg, and the movement was only different in the knee angle at touchdown, ϵ0, for additional masses greater than .6 kg. The results of this study did not support findings reported earlier in the literature that body mass is a dominant predictor of external vertical impact force peaks.

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Michal N. Glinka, Kim P. Cheema, Stephen N. Robinovitch and Andrew C. Laing

Safety floors (also known as compliant floors) may reduce the risk of fall-related injuries by attenuating impact force during falls, but are only practical if they do not negatively affect balance and mobility. In this study, we evaluated seven safety surfaces based on their ability to attenuate peak femoral neck force during simulated hip impacts, and their influence on center of pressure (COP) sway during quiet and tandem stance. Overall, we found that some safety floors can attenuate up to 33.7% of the peak femoral impact force without influencing balance. More specifically, during simulated hip impacts, force attenuation for the safety floors ranged from 18.4 (SD 4.3)% to 47.2 (3.1)%, with each floor significantly reducing peak force compared with a rigid surface. For quiet stance, only COP root mean square was affected by flooring (and increased for only two safety floors). During tandem stance, COP root mean square and mean velocity increased in the medial-lateral direction for three of the seven floors. Based on the substantial force attenuation with no concomitant effects on balance for some floors, these results support the development of clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of safety floors at reducing fall-related injuries in high-risk settings.

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C. Roger James, Barry T. Bates and Janet S. Dufek

The purposes of this study were to (a) present a theoretical model to explain the methods by which individuals accommodate impact force in response to increases in an applied stressor, (b) use the model and a correlation procedure to classify a sample of individuals based on their observed response patterns, and (c) statistically evaluate the classification process. Ten participants performed landings from three heights while video and force platform data were being collected. Magnitudes of impact-force characteristics from ground reaction force and lower extremity joint moments were evaluated relative to changes in landing momentum. Correlation between impact force and landing momentum was used to classify participant responses into either a positive or negative biomechanical strategy, as defined by the model. Positive and negative groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Results indicated that all responses fit within the categories defined by the model. Some individuals preferred positive strategies while others preferred negative ones depending on the specific variable. Only one participant consistently exhibited the negative strategy for all variables. Positive and negative groups were determined to be statistically different, p ≤ 0.05, for 61% of the comparisons, suggesting actual differences between groups. The proposed model appeared robust and accounted for all responses in the current experiment. The model should be evaluated further using landing and other impact activities; it should be refined and used to help researchers understand individual impact-response strategies in order to identify those who may be at risk for impact related injuries.

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Mark D. Ricard and Steve Veatch

Aerobic dance movement sequences are similar to running in repetitive frequency. The purpose of this study was to compare ground reaction force variables in aerobic dance and running. Five female subjects performed 10 trials of five running speeds (2.4–4.0 ± 0.4 m/s) and five heights (0–8 ± 0.2 cm) of front knee lift aerobic dance steps on an AMTI force plate (1000 Hz). First peak impact force, peak loading rate, high-frequency impulse, and 50-ms impulse increased with increased running speed and jumping height. Time to first peak impact force decreased as running speed and jumping height increased. Although first peak impact forces resulting from airborne aerobic dance movements (1.96–2.62 BW) were greater than first peak impact forces in running (1.30–2.01 BW), running compared to aerobic dance resulted in shorter time to first peak impact force and higher values for loading rate, high-frequency impulse, and 50-ms impulse. When compared to aerobic dance, running exhibits smaller peak vertical forces but higher loading rates and vertical impulses.