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Wolfgang Potthast, Gert-Peter Brüggemann, Arne Lundberg and Anton Arndt

The purpose of this study was to quantify relative contributions of impact interface, muscle activity, and knee angle to the magnitudes of tibial and femoral accelerations occurring after external impacts. Impacts were initiated with a pneumatically driven impacter under the heels of four volunteers. Impact forces were quantified with a force sensor. Segmental accelerations were measured with bone mounted accelerometers. Experimental interventions were hard and soft shock interfaces, different knee angles (0°, 20°, 40° knee flexion), and muscular preactivation (0%, 30%, 60% of maximal voluntary contraction) of gastrocnemii, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Greater knee flexion led to lower impact forces and higher tibial accelerations. Increased muscular activation led to higher forces and lower tibial accelerations. The softer of the two shock interfaces under study reduced both parameters. The effects on accelerations and forces through the activation and knee angle changes were greater than the effect of interface variations. The hardness of the two shock interfaces explained less than 10% of the variance of accelerations and impact forces, whereas knee angle changes explained 25–29%, and preactivation changes explained 35–48% of the variances. It can be concluded that muscle force and knee joint angle have greater effects in comparison with interface hardness on the severity of shocks on the lower leg.

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Benno M. Nigg, Gerald K. Cole and Gert-Peter Brüggemann

Impact forces have been speculated to be associated with the development of musculoskeletal injuries. However, several findings indicate that the concepts of “impact forces” and the paradigms of their “cushioning” may not be well understood in relation to the etiology of running injuries and that complex mechanisms may be responsible for injury development during running. The purposes of this paper are (a) to review impact mechanics during locomotion, (b) to review injuries and changes of biological tissue due to impact loading, and (c) to synthesize the mechanical and biological findings. In addition, directions for future research are discussed. Future research should address the development of noninvasive techniques to assess changes in the morphology and biochemistry of bone, cartilage, tendon, and ligaments; researchers should also try to simulate impact loading during activities such as running, focusing on the interaction of the various loading parameters that determine the acceptable windows of loading for biological tissues.

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Jan Schroeder, Franziska Erthel and Karsten Hollander

argued that differing foot strike patterns (FSP) lead to altered impact forces during ground contact. 9 , 10 A rear foot strike (RFS) has been reported to be associated with 25% higher vertical impact forces than a forefoot strike (FFS). 9 , 10 Considering that impact (running) and nonimpact (cycling

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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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Mark D. Ricard and Steve Veatch

This study compared impact forces and loading rates in a high and low impact aerobic dance movement. Five subjects each performed five trials of the low impact front knee lift (LFKL) and five trials of the high impact front knee lift (HFKL). The data were recorded using an AMTI force plate at 1,000 Hz. A repeated-measures ANOVA was used to test for differences in selected variables for the LFKL and HFKL. Peak impact force was significantly lower in the LFKL than the HFKL, mean 0.98 BW and 1.98 BW, respectively. Mean loading rate was significantly lower in the LFKL (14.38 BW/s) than the HFKL (42.55 BW/s). Mean impact impulse during the first 50 ms of impact was significantly lower in the LFKL (0.0131 BW•s) than the HFKL (0.0295 BW•s). Based upon these differences in external ground reaction forces, it appears that low impact front knee lifts impose a significantly lower load than high impact front knee lifts.

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Niell G. Elvin, Alex A. Elvin, Steven P. Arnoczky and Michael R. Torry

Impact forces and shock deceleration during jumping and running have been associated with various knee injury etiologies. This study investigates the influence of jump height and knee contact angle on peak ground reaction force and segment axial accelerations. Ground reaction force, segment axial acceleration, and knee angles were measured for 6 male subjects during vertical jumping. A simple spring-mass model is used to predict the landing stiffness at impact as a function of (1) jump height, (2) peak impact force, (3) peak tibial axial acceleration, (4) peak thigh axial acceleration, and (5) peak trunk axial acceleration. Using a nonlinear least square fit, a strong (r = 0.86) and significant (p ≤ 0.05) correlation was found between knee contact angle and stiffness calculated using the peak impact force and jump height. The same model also showed that the correlation was strong (r = 0.81) and significant (p ≤ 0.05) between knee contact angle and stiffness calculated from the peak trunk axial accelerations. The correlation was weaker for the peak thigh (r = 0.71) and tibial (r = 0.45) axial accelerations. Using the peak force but neglecting jump height in the model, produces significantly worse correlation (r = 0.58). It was concluded that knee contact angle significantly influences both peak ground reaction forces and segment accelerations. However, owing to the nonlinear relationship, peak forces and segment accelerations change more rapidly at smaller knee flexion angles (i.e., close to full extension) than at greater knee flexion angles.

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Brigit De Wit, Dirk De Clercq and Matthieu Lenoir

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of midsole hardness on both impact forces and rearfoot motion. Seven trained male long-distance runners were assessed with a Kistler force plate and with high-speed video, while running at 4.5 ± 0.1 m · s"1 with soft and hard shoe soles (EVA; soft shore Asker C40; hard shore Asker C65). The results showed smaller initial vertical impact peaks, occurring with a higher loading rate, and a significantly larger and faster initial eversion when subjects ran with hard shoes. Support is given to the concept that a more pronounced initial eversion offers an additional deceleration mechanism (Stacoff, Denoth, Kaelin, & Stuessi, 1988) also increasing the eccentric loading of the inverting muscles. On the other hand, during midstance soft shoe soles were found to produce a larger maximum eversion and pronation, also imposing an increased load on the same muscles. So, a good running shoe should be focused on a balance between reducing impact forces and reducing overpronation.

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Benno M. Nigg and H. Alexander Bahlsen

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of lateral heel flare on pronation, external impact forces, and takeoff supination for different midsole constructions. Data were collected using force platforms and high-speed film cameras. Fourteen male subjects participated in the study, running heel-toe at a speed of 4 m/s. The analysis of kinetic and kinematic variables showed that changes in lateral heel flare of 16°, 0°, and a rounded heel can be used to influence initial pronation during heel-toe running. It could be shown that changes in lateral heel flare do not have a relevant influence on changes in total and/or maximal pronation. Changes in lateral heel flare do have an effect on vertical impact force peaks if the midsole is relatively hard but not if the midsole is relatively soft. Based on the present study, a running shoe with a relatively hard midsole material and a neutral flare would have low initial pronation values and low vertical impact force peaks.

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John H. Challis

This study examined the influence of force plate targeting, via stride length adjustments, on the magnitude and consistency of ground reaction force and segment angle profiles of the stance phase of human running. Seven male subjects (height, 1.77 m ± 0.081; mass, 72.4 kg ± 7.52; age range, 23 to 32 years) were asked to run at a mean velocity of 3.2 m · s–1 under three conditions (normal, short, and long strides). Four trials were completed for each condition. For each trial, the ground reaction forces were measured and the orientations of the foot, shank, and thigh computed. There were no statistically significant differences (p > .05) between the coefficients of variation of ground reaction force and segment angle profiles under the three conditions, so these profiles were produced consistently. Peak active vertical ground reaction forces, their timings, and segment angles at foot off were not significantly different across conditions. In contrast, significant differences between conditions were found for peak vertical impact forces and their timings, and for the three lower limb segment angles at the start of force plate contact. These results have implications for human gait studies, which require subjects to target the force plate. Targeting may be acceptable depending on the variables to be analyzed.

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Woochol J. Choi, Harjinder Kaur and Stephen N. Robinovitch

Distal radius fractures are common on playgrounds. Yet current guidelines for the selection of playground surface materials are based only on protection against fall-related head injuries. We conducted “torso release” experiments to determine how common playground surface materials affect impact force applied to the hand during upper limb fall arrests. Trials were acquired for falls onto a rigid surface, and onto five common playground surface materials: engineered wood fiber, gravel, mulch, rubber tile, and sand. Measures were acquired for arm angles of 20 and 40 degrees from the vertical. Playground surface materials influenced the peak resultant and vertical force (P < .001), but not the peak horizontal force (P = .159). When compared with the rigid condition, peak resultant force was reduced 17% by sand (from 1039 to 864 N), 16% by gravel, 7% by mulch, 5% by engineered wood fiber, and 2% by rubber tile. The best performing surface provided only a 17% reduction in peak resultant force. These results help to explain the lack of convincing evidence from clinical studies on the effectiveness of playground surface materials in preventing distal radius fractures during playground falls, and highlight the need to develop playground surface materials that provide improved protection against these injuries.