Eccentric training may affect the longitudinal adaptation of the muscle. Usually the muscle fiber lengthening during eccentric training is measured by the joint kinematics. Due to tendon compliance, this method offers insufficient information about the muscle fiber behavior. The present study investigated the muscle fiber behavior of the Vastus Lateralis muscle (VL) during eccentric knee contractions in humans by measuring the changes of fascicle length in vivo with ultrasonography, at force levels of 65% and 95% of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction force (MVC). Seven young adults were tested by a Biodex. They performed eccentric knee contractions with one leg at 65% and 95% of their MVC (knee angle 25°-100°, angular velocity 90°/s). Potential joint axis deviations were recorded using a Vicon camera system. Exerted knee moments were captured synchronously with the Vicon system at 1000Hz. Fascicle length of the VL muscle visualized by a 10cm Ultrasound prob. The means and standard deviations of fascicle elongation at 65% and 95% of the MVC were 42.71±8.54mm and 39.11±10.64mm respectively, with no statistically significant difference between both conditions. All subjects showed a plateau or slide decrease in fascicle length at the beginning of the movement. This slight decrease in fascicle length, which occurs despite a lengthening of the VL muscle-tendon unite, can be explained by the tendon compliance. The similar fascicle elongation between the two conditions (65% vs. 95% MVC) reveals that the amplitude of the force level during eccentric knee extension contractions does not affect the lengthening of the fascicle.
A high incidence of lower extremity injuries has been reported in runners, with half of the injuries occurring at the knee joint. Sagittal plane trunk posture was shown to influence hip and knee kinetics during landing. This suggests trunk posture may be a risk factor of running injuries. The purpose of this study was aimed to examine the influence of sagittal plane trunk posture on hip and knee kinetics during running. Forty runners were recruited. Three-dimensional kinematics (250Hz, Qualisys) and ground reaction force data (1500Hz, AMTI) were collected while subjects ran with a self-selected trunk posture (speed: 3.4m/s). Mean trunk flexion angle and peak hip and knee extensor moments during the stance phase were calculated. Subjects were dichotomized into High-Flex and Low-Flex groups based on trunk flexion angles. On average, the two groups demonstrate 7.4°difference in trunk flexion. Independent t-tests showed that the Low-Flex group demonstrated significantly higher knee extensor moments and lower hip extensor moments compared to the High-Flex group. Pearson correlations showed that trunk flexion angle was positively correlated with peak hip extensor moment (r=0.44) and inversely correlated with peak knee extensor moment (r=-0.51). The results suggested a small difference in trunk flexion angle has significant influences on hip and knee kinetics. Individuals who run with a more upright trunk posture may be predisposed to a higher risk of patellar tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain. Incorporating a forward lean trunk may be utilized as an intervention strategy to reduce knee loading and risk of knee injuries in runners.
When an active muscle is stretched, the resulting post-eccentric steady-state force is known to be greater than the isometric force at the corresponding muscle length. The aim of our research was to clarify if residual force enhancement (RFE) is relevant for voluntary human muscle action in everyday like scenarios. Therefore 13 healthy subjects participated in our study and had to perform bilateral leg extensions using a motor-driven leg press dynamometer, measuring external reaction forces (Fext) as well as activity of 9 lower extremity muscles. In addition, ankle (Ma) and knee (Mk) joint torque were calculated using inverse dynamics. Subjects performed isometric and isometric-eccentric-isometric contractions (20° stretch, ω=60°/s) at 30% of maximum voluntary activation. Visual feedback of VL muscle activation was given to control submaximal muscle action. We did not find differences in VL activation level between contraction conditions and time points. Mean VL activity ranged between 29.1 ± 2.2% and 29.8±2.5% MVA. We found significantly enhanced Fext (p < 0.002) as well as joint torques in knee (p < 0.002) and ankle joint (p < 0.033) for all instances in time. In summary RFE seems to be relevant in everyday like human motion.
2012-2013 $10,000 Academic Scholarship Awardees
The Force and Motion Foundation's $10,000 Academic Scholarship is awarded annually to promising graduate students in fields related to multi-axis force measurement and testing. The 2012-2013 year's subject focus was: orthopedic, cardiovascular and tissue engineering research in which multi-axis measurement or testing plays a significant role.
After considering a large number of well-written and interesting applications from outstanding graduate students, the Force and Motion Foundation is pleased to announce the three awardees of the 2012-2013 $10,000 Academic Scholarship.