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Bryan C. Heiderscheit, Joseph Hamill and Richard E.A. van Emmerik

The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP) display a reduction in intralimb joint coordination variability compared to nonimpaired persons. In addition, it was hypothesized that the variability of the stride characteristics would be similar between groups. Eight individuals with unilateral PFP and 8 nonimpaired participants ran on a treadmill at a fixed (2.68 m·s–1) and preferred speed while stride characteristics and 3-D kinematics of the bilateral lower extremities were recorded. Intralimb coordination variability was measured using a vector coding technique applied to relative motion plots of various joint couplings. The PFP group displayed greater stride length variability during running at the preferred speed. However, this was not the case during running at the fixed speed. When averaging across the entire stride cycle, coordination variability for all joint couplings was consistent between the two groups. However, further analysis about heel-strike revealed reduced joint coordination variability for the thigh rotation/leg rotation coupling of the PFP group’s injured limb compared to that of the nonimpaired group. With the exception of the transverse plane rotations at heel-strike, it would appear that the level of pain experienced by the PFP participants may not be great enough to produce a change in the intralimb coordination patterns during running.

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Bryan C. Heiderscheit

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of variability in human movement, with emphasis on locomotion variability. Based on the assessment of stride characteristics, movement variability has been associated with reduced gait stability and unsteadiness. However, based on the measure of joint coordination during locomotion, variability has been suggested to provide a source of adaptation. Therefore, it would appear that the assessment of movement coordination from either the task outcome (i.e., stride characteristics) or the joint coordination patterns provide distinctly opposing views of variability. This paper will discuss the use of the variability measures, specifically joint coordination variability, from a clinical perspective. Investigations will be presented in which a reduction in joint coordination variability has been associated with pathology. Finally, the clinical implications of these measures as well as treatment suggestions are discussed.

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Scott W. Ducharme and Richard E.A. van Emmerik

results from a first empirical study that directly investigates this proposed link between fractal dynamics and adaptation during human locomotion. Variability Magnitude Variance refers to the overall dispersion of data. Variability is often quantified by the standard deviation (i.e., square root of the