Stiffness is a mechanical measure of a material elasticity defined as the resistance of a material to elongation: greater stiffness means that the material offers greater resistance to a given elongation. 1 , 2 Passive joint stiffness is quantified according to the slope of joint angle
Kentaro Chino and Hideyuki Takahashi
Nicholas Tam, Ross Tucker, Jordan Santos-Concejero, Danielle Prins and Robert P. Lamberts
running economy were discussed. Examples of these include ground-reaction forces (GRFs), swing-phase characteristics, joint stiffness, and foot strike pattern. These too were noted to have a conflicting and/or underinvestigated relationship with running economy, 10 , 11 – 13 although the alignment of the
D.S. Blaise Williams III, Denis Brunt and Robert J. Tanenberg
The majority of plantar ulcers in the diabetic population occur in the forefoot. Peripheral neuropathy has been related to the occurrence of ulcers. Long-term diabetes results in the joints becoming passively stiffer. This static stiffness may translate to dynamic joint stiffness in the lower extremities during gait. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate differences in ankle and knee joint stiffness between diabetic individuals with and without peripheral neuropathy during gait. Diabetic subjects with and without peripheral neuropathy were compared. Subjects were monitored during normal walking with three-dimensional motion analysis and a force plate. Neuropathic subjects had higher ankle stiffness (0.236 N·m/ deg) during 65 to 80% of stance when compared with non-neuropathic subjects (−0.113 N·m/deg). Neuropathic subjects showed a different pattern in ankle stiffness compared with non-neuropathic subjects. Neuropathic subjects demonstrated a consistent level of ankle stiffness, whereas non-neuropathic subjects showed varying levels of stiffness. Neuropathic subjects demonstrated lower knee stiffness (0.015 N·m/deg) compared with non-neuropathic subjects (0.075 N·m/deg) during 50 to 65% of stance. The differences in patterns of ankle and knee joint stiffness between groups appear to be related to changes in timing of peak ankle dorsiflexion during stance, with the neuropathic group reaching peak dorsiflexion later than the non-neuropathic subjects. This may partially relate to the changes in plantar pressures beneath the metatarsal heads present in individuals with neuropathy.
Alan R. Needle, Thomas W. Kaminski, Jochen Baumeister, Jill S. Higginson, William B. Farquhar and C. Buz Swanik
Rolling sensations at the ankle are common after injury and represent failure in neural regulation of joint stiffness. However, deficits after ankle injury are variable and strategies for optimizing stiffness may differ across patients.
To determine if ankle stiffness and muscle activation differ between patients with varying history of ankle injury.
Fifty-nine individuals were stratified into healthy (CON, n = 20), functionally unstable (UNS, n = 19), and coper (COP, n = 20) groups.
Main Outcome Measures:
A 20° supination perturbation was applied to the ankle as position and torque were synchronized with activity of tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and soleus. Subjects were tested with muscles relaxed, while maintaining 30% muscle activation, and while directed to react and resist the perturbation.
No group differences existed for joint stiffness (F = 0.07, P = .993); however, the UNS group had higher soleus and less tibialis anterior activation than the CON group during passive trials (P < .05). In addition, greater early tibialis anterior activation generally predicted higher stiffness in the CON group (P ≤ .03), but greater soleus activity improved stiffness in the UNS group (P = .03).
Although previous injury does not affect the ability to stiffen the joint under laboratory conditions, strategies appear to differ. Generally, the COP has decreased muscle activation, whereas the UNS uses greater plantar-flexor activity. The results of this study suggest that clinicians should emphasize correct preparatory muscle activation to improve joint stiffness in injury-rehabilitation efforts.
Fabian Mager, Jim Richards, Malika Hennies, Eugen Dötzel, Ambreen Chohan, Alex Mbuli and Felix Capanni
phase. Several studies have reported the vertical stiffness for the whole lower limb and joint stiffness for the ankle and knee joint during locomotion. 2 These can be affected by different surfaces 3 and footwear. 4 In addition, an increase in knee joint stiffness and leg stiffness has been shown to
Andrew R. Fauth, Andrew J. Hamel and Neil A. Sharkey
This study involved a biomechanical examination of the first and second tar-sometatarsal (TMT) joints. In the in vitro testing protocol, physiologic joint moments were applied to the first and second TMT joints of 10 cadaver specimens, which had been dissected to yield only the midfoot components comprising the tarsals, metatarsals, and associated ligaments. The isolated joints were placed in a 37 °C water bath and were independently cycled into and out of dorsiflexion, while angular displacement and resultant joint moments were collected. The specimens were sequentially cycled between zero and peak moment levels of 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10 Nm, after which mean moment-angle curves were plotted for each TMT joint at each loading condition. Least-squares curve-fitting procedures, employing a root mean square error threshold of 0.005 Nm, were used to describe the average overall moment vs. angle relationship of each joint. Curves for the first and second TMT joints exhibited similar behavior. The joints displayed reasonably constant stiffness at low angles of dorsiflexion, followed by rapidly increasing stiffness at higher angles of dorsiflexion. These data provide new insight into the behavior of the TMT joints under load and are valuable for use in numerical models of the foot, as well as in the understanding and treatment of certain foot pathologies.
David Diggin, Ross Anderson and Andrew J. Harrison
Evidence suggests reports describing the reliability of leg-spring (kleg) and joint stiffness (kjoint) measures are contaminated by artifacts originating from digital filtering procedures. In addition, the intraday reliability of kleg and kjoint requires investigation. This study examined the effects of experimental procedures on the inter- and intraday reliability of kleg and kjoint. Thirty-two participants completed 2 trials of single-legged hopping at 1.5, 2.2, and 3.0 Hz at the same time of day across 3 days. On the final test day a fourth experimental bout took place 6 hours before or after participants’ typical testing time. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected throughout. Stiffness was calculated using models of kleg and kjoint. Classifications of measurement agreement were established using thresholds for absolute and relative reliability statistics. Results illustrated that kleg and kankle exhibited strong agreement. In contrast, kknee and khip demonstrated weak-to-moderate consistency. Results suggest limits in kjoint reliability persist despite employment of appropriate filtering procedures. Furthermore, diurnal fluctuations in lower-limb muscle-tendon stiffness exhibit little effect on intraday reliability. The present findings support the existence of kleg as an attractor state during hopping, achieved through fluctuations in kjoint variables. Limits to kjoint reliability appear to represent biological function rather than measurement artifact.
Roy Müller, Tobias Siebert and Reinhard Blickhan
In locomotion, humans have to deal with irregularities in the ground. When they encounter uneven terrain with changes in vertical height, they adjust the geometry of their legs. Recent investigations have shown that the preactivation of the gastrocnemius muscle (GM) correlates with the ankle angle at touchdown, but it is as of yet unclear why these adjustments were achieved by the GM and not by the preactivation of the tibialis anterior (TA). To examine the differences between TA regulation and GM regulation regarding (1) ankle angle adjustment and (2) joint stiffness, we used a three-segment musculoskeletal model with two antagonistic muscles (GM, TA). During the GM regulation, the ankle angle was adjusted from 121° to 109° (dorsiflexion) by a 41% decrease in the GM activation. During the TA regulation, the activation of TA must be increased by about 52%. In addition, we found that the ankle stiffness was most sensitive to changes in activation of the GM and decreased by about 20% while adjusting the angle. In contrast, the ankle stiffness remains similar when using TA regulation. Thus, the GM regulation is more adequate for adjustment in the ankle joint, enabling sufficient regulation of angle and stiffness.
Samuel J. Howarth, Tyson A.C. Beach and Jack P. Callaghan
The goal of this study was to quantify the relative contributions of each muscle group surrounding the spine to vertebral joint rotational stiffness (VJRS) during the push-up exercise. Upper-body kinematics, three-dimensional hand forces and lumbar spine postures, and 14 channels (bilaterally from rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, latissimus dorsi, thoracic erector spinae, lumbar erector spinae, and multifidus) of trunk electromyographic (EMG) activity were collected from 11 males and used as inputs to a biomechanical model that determined the individual contributions of 10 muscle groups surrounding the lumbar spine to VJRS at five lumbar vertebral joints (L1-L2 to L5-S1). On average, the abdominal muscles contributed 64.32 ± 8.50%, 86.55 ± 1.13%, and 83.84 ± 1.95% to VJRS about the flexion/extension, lateral bend, and axial twist axes, respectively. Rectus abdominis contributed 43.16 ± 3.44% to VJRS about the flexion/extension axis at each lumbar joint, and external oblique and internal oblique, respectively contributed 52.61 ± 7.73% and 62.13 ± 8.71% to VJRS about the lateral bend and axial twist axes, respectively, at all lumbar joints with the exception of L5-S1. Owing to changes in moment arm length, the external oblique and internal oblique, respectively contributed 55.89% and 50.01% to VJRS about the axial twist and lateral bend axes at L5-S1. Transversus abdominis, multifidus, and the spine extensors contributed minimally to VJRS during the push-up exercise. The push-up challenges the abdominal musculature to maintain VJRS. The orientation of the abdominal muscles suggests that each muscle primarily controls the rotational stiffness about a single axis.
Mark A. Sutherlin, L. Colby Mangum, Shawn Russell, Susan Saliba, Jay Hertel and Joe M. Hart
individuals, leading to increased or abnormal forces placed on more proximal structures that could result in injury. Two methods to assess force attenuation during landing could be through a lower-extremity or vertical stiffness 8 – 13 or individual joint stiffness measures. 9 , 10 , 14 Lower