Biomechanics Lab - Projects

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    Current Projects:

    "Knee Joint Forces in Relation to Ground Surface Stiffness during Running.” Price, V., DeVita, P. (2017)

    The purpose of this study is to compare tibio-femoral and patello-femoral joint contact forces while running on different surfaces of varying hardness. We hypothesize that varying the ground stiffness would not make a significant difference to the force placed on the knee across different ground stiffness levels due to the joint manipulating itself to maintain the body’s natural running mechanics.

    "The relationships between physical capacity and biomechanical plasticity with age during level and incline walking." Kuhman, D., DeVita, P. (2017)

    Elderly compared to young adults exhibit an age-associated biomechanical plasticity characterized by increased hip and decreased ankle joint contributions to mechanical work while walking. Previous research suggests that low capacity compared to high capacity elderly adults exhibit an increased magnitude of this biomechanical plasticity. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between physical capacity and age-associated biomechanical plasticity during level and incline walking. We expect to observe an inverse relationship between physical capacity and biomechanical capacity. More specifically, as physical capacity decreases, hip joint contributions to mechanical work will increase and ankle joint contributions to mechanical work will decrease.

    "A Biomechanical and Metabolic Comparison of Skipping and Running.” McDonnell, J., DeVita, P. (2016)

    Locomotion comparison between skipping and running gaits. It appears that skipping may provide greater aerobic and cardiovascular training than running and it may provide this benefit while creating lower skeletal loads than running. Hmmm, that’s pretty interesting. We are comparing locomotion biomechanics including knee and Achilles tendon loads and metabolic cost while skipping and running at the same speed. Suppose skipping were to have these advantages?  We wonder if people would incorporate some amount of skipping in their total training program. Interesting idea.

    "Joint Torque and Power Redistribution During Accelerated Walking in Older Adults." Rabideau, S., Schuster, D., Bishop, R., Goel, L., Rider, P., Willson, J., DeVita, P. (2014)

    The purpose of this study is to compare joint torques and powers between younger (18-25 years old) and older (70-85 years old) adults as they accelerate while walking.  A treadmill with a force platform will be used to accelerate participants from 0.5 m/s to 2.0 m/s at three different acceleration rates, 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 m/s2.  Joint torques and powers will be assessed using kinematic data obtained from a 3D motion capture system and the ground reaction forces measured by the force platform.  It is expected that older adults will display larger increases in hip torque and power and smaller increases in ankle torque and power compared to younger adults during accelerated walking.

    "Effects of Extracellular Matrix in Skeletal Muscle on Mechanotransduction Signaling." Salzano, M., Hibbert, J., Rider, P., Domire, Z. (2014)

    The purpose this study is to investigate the effects of muscle stiffness on FAK phosphorylation in rats to find a relationship between stiffness and impaired mechanotransduction signaling. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) phosphorylation has been implicated in mechanotransduction, the conversion of a mechanical stretch to cellular process, which is important in a muscle's response to exercise. Rats will exercised on one leg on a dynamometer, and subsequently sacrificed, where their dorsiflexors muscles will be tested for stiffness and FAK activity.  We hypothesize that increased muscle stiffness with age impairs the mechanotransduction signaling of muscle cells in response to stretch.

    "How Do We Accelerate While Running." Schuster, D., Rider, P., Willson, J., DeVita, P. (2014)

    The purpose of this study is to quantify lower extremity joint torques and powers during constant speed running and during running while accelerating at three rates of acceleration, 0.40 ms-2, 0.60 ms-2, and 0.80 ms-2 , between a baseline velocity of 2.50 ms-1 to a maximal velocity of 7.00 ms-1. We will use an instrumented treadmill with force transducers and motion capture for gait analysis. The data will then be run through Visual 3D software where the ground reaction forces, joint torques, and joint powers will be calculated using inverse dynamics methods. It is hypothesized that that there will be an increase in the magnitude of the GRFs, joint torques and powers with each step during accelerated running.

    "Effect of Eccentric Hamstring Strength Training on Muscle Function." Seymore, K., Hibbert, J., Domire, Z., Kulas, A. (2014)

    The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of Nordic Hamstring eccentric strength training on hamstring muscle architecture, stiffness, strength, and dynamic performance. Muscle architecture and stiffness in the biceps femoris long head and semitendinosus will be determined using ultrasound imaging and ultrasound elastography. Vertical jump height with and without a countermovement will be assessed using a Vertec device. Hamstring strength will be measured passively, isometrically, and isokinetically on a HUMAC isokinetic dynamometer. We hypothesize that Nordic Hamstring eccentric strength training will cause adaptations in hamstring muscle architecture, shear modulus, strength, and vertical jump height performance.

    "Reliability of Using Ultrasound Technology to Construct Finite Element Foot Models." Bell, E., Rider, P., Kulas, A., Domire, Z. (2014)

    The purpose of this study is to assess the reliability of ultrasound technology to develop improved FE models of the foot. 3D ultrasound will be used to measure structural parameters of intrinsic foot muscles and tendons. Ultrasound elastography will be used to measure soft tissue material properties of selected intrinsic foot structures.