Sensors 2014, 14(1), 478-491; doi:10.3390/s140100478
Article

A Novel Assessment of Flexibility by Microcirculatory Signals

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hungkuang University, No. 1018, Sec. 6, Taiwan Boulevard, Taichung City 43302, Taiwan 2 Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering, Hungkuang University, No. 1018, Sec. 6, Taiwan Boulevard, Taichung City 43302, Taiwan 3 Department of Electrical Engineering, Tunghai University, No. 1727 Sec. 4, Taiwan Boulevard, Taichung City 40704, Taiwan 4 Department of Physical Therapy, Hungkuang University, No. 1018, Sec. 6, Taiwan Boulevard, Taichung City 43302, Taiwan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2013; in revised form: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Globalized Healthy Living and Wellbeing)
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Abstract: Flexibility testing is one of the most important fitness assessments. It is generally evaluated by measuring the range of motion (RoM) of body segments around a joint center. This study presents a novel assessment of flexibility in the microcirculatory aspect. Eighteen college students were recruited for the flexibility assessment. The flexibility of the leg was defined according to the angle of active ankle dorsiflexion measured by goniometry. Six legs were excluded, and the remaining thirty legs were categorized into two groups, group H (n = 15 with higher flexibility) and group L (n = 15 with lower flexibility), according to their RoM. The microcirculatory signals of the gastrocnemius muscle on the belly were monitored by using Laser-Doppler Flowmetry (LDF) with a noninvasive skin probe. Three indices of nonpulsatile component (DC), pulsatile component (AC) and perfusion pulsatility (PP) were defined from the LDF signals after signal processing. The results revealed that both the DC and AC values of the group H that demonstrated higher stability underwent muscle stretching. In contrast, these indices of group L had interferences and became unstable during muscle stretching. The PP value of group H was a little higher than that of group L. These primary findings help us to understand the microcirculatory physiology of flexibility, and warrant further investigations for use of non-invasive LDF techniques in the assessment of flexibility.
Keywords: flexibility; Laser-Doppler Flowmetry; stretching; chronic venous insufficiency; gastrocnemius muscle; perfusion; pulsatile

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bau, J.-G.; Chia, T.; Chung, Y.-F.; Chen, K.-H.; Wu, S.-K. A Novel Assessment of Flexibility by Microcirculatory Signals. Sensors 2014, 14, 478-491.

AMA Style

Bau J-G, Chia T, Chung Y-F, Chen K-H, Wu S-K. A Novel Assessment of Flexibility by Microcirculatory Signals. Sensors. 2014; 14(1):478-491.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bau, Jian-Guo; Chia, Taipau; Chung, Yu-Fang; Chen, Kun-Hao; Wu, Shyi-Kuen. 2014. "A Novel Assessment of Flexibility by Microcirculatory Signals." Sensors 14, no. 1: 478-491.

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