Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture

A special issue of Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology (ISSN 2411-5142). This special issue belongs to the section "Functional Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2024 | Viewed by 11598

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Guest Editor
International Institute of Biomechanics and Occupational Ergonomics, Université de Toulon, CS60584, 83041 Toulon, France
Interests: musculoskeletal disorders; systematic reviews and meta-analysis; occupational health; ergonomics; biomechanics; MSD prevalence; safety; public health
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the challenges of the 21st century is enabling people to live longer in good health. Maintaining motor functions plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life. Walking and maintaining posture are fundamental to preserving functional independence. From this perspective, understanding the mechanisms that lead to a reduction in the effects of aging, neurodegenerative diseases and other causes is a major multidisciplinary scientific challenge. It is therefore important to understand how motor disorders or alterations (or more generally impairments) modify body biomechanics and motor control of walking or posture. This Special Issue is devoted to recent advances in research into the use of biomechanics and knowledge relating neuromuscular control to understand motor alterations, design new therapies or develop technical aids to restore autonomy. We encourage all articles promoting the latest research in the fields of health, rehabilitation, sport and ergonomics that contribute to improving people's health and quality of life.

Prof. Dr. Philippe Gorce
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • musculoskeletal diseases
  • neuromuscular
  • neuromechanics
  • biomechanics
  • modeling and simulation
  • gait and posture
  • balance
  • movement analysis
  • muscle fatigue
  • electromyography
  • reaction to ground force
  • center of pressure
  • asymmetry

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1669 KiB  
Article
Disc Degeneration and Cervical Spine Intervertebral Motion: A Cross-Sectional Study in Patients with Neck Pain and Matched Healthy Controls
by Jonathan Branney, Alexander Breen, Alister du Rose, Philip Mowlem and Alan Breen
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2024, 9(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk9010055 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 929
Abstract
While neck pain can be defined in clinical terms, in most cases the underlying pathophysiology is largely unknown. Regional cervical spine range of motion is often found to be reduced in patients with neck pain compared to persons without pain although it is [...] Read more.
While neck pain can be defined in clinical terms, in most cases the underlying pathophysiology is largely unknown. Regional cervical spine range of motion is often found to be reduced in patients with neck pain compared to persons without pain although it is not clear if the decreased range is cause or effect. Less is known about the role of intervertebral kinematics and how that might be related to the presence of disc degeneration. In this study, the prevalence of intervertebral disc degeneration and continuous cervical intervertebral motion were both measured utilizing quantitative fluoroscopy (QF) in patients with subacute or chronic neck pain (n = 29) and gender-matched healthy controls (n = 30). A composite disc degeneration (CDD) score was calculated for each participant from the first, neutral, lateral fluoroscopic image. Intervertebral motion sharing parameters of motion-sharing inequality (MSI) and motion-sharing variability (MSV) were derived from the active cervical motion sequences obtained while patients were seated. The objective was to determine if average age, CDD, MSI, and MSV values were correlated and if there were differences in these variables between the neck pain group and the healthy control group. Correlation analysis was conducted for age, CDD, MSI, and MSV in each group. Age was moderately correlated with MSV in cervical spine extension in patients only (r = 0.63, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in the prevalence of disc degeneration (CDD) between patients, who had on average mild pain and related disability, and healthy controls (median CDD 2 both groups, p = 0.94). There were also no significant differences in either flexion or extension intervertebral motion-sharing inequality or variability (MSI or MSV) between groups as measured during active cervical motion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)
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10 pages, 2169 KiB  
Article
An Able-Bodied Study for Potential Usage of a Knee Scooter as a Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) Gait Training Device
by Jaewook Kim, Yekwang Kim, Juhui Moon and Seung-Jong Kim
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2024, 9(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk9010045 - 4 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1097
Abstract
Post-stroke gait is characterized by slow and asymmetrical hemiparetic gait. This is attributed to the paretic lower limb which has limited plantar propulsion. The most effective method to restore paretic limb function is constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), which promotes the usage of the [...] Read more.
Post-stroke gait is characterized by slow and asymmetrical hemiparetic gait. This is attributed to the paretic lower limb which has limited plantar propulsion. The most effective method to restore paretic limb function is constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), which promotes the usage of the paretic limb by restricting the movement of the unafflicted limb. However, due to the necessity of both lower limbs to perform gait, CIMT methods could not be directly applied for gait rehabilitation. In this study, we explore the feasibility of utilizing a knee scooter as a means to facilitate CIMT gait training. We hypothesize that if lower limb kinematics and muscle activation patterns during gait with a knee scooter match that of natural gait, the knee scooter could be utilized for CIMT gait training. We measured the lower-limb joint angles, plantar force, EMG patterns, stride length, and step times of 13 healthy subjects during gait with a knee scooter and natural gait. The results suggest that the gait patterns while using the knee scooter closely resemble those of natural gait. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)
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14 pages, 2107 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Chaos in Postural Control in Adults with Achondroplasia
by Inês Alves, Maria António Castro, Sofia Tavares and Orlando Fernandes
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2024, 9(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk9010039 - 26 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Background: Achondroplasia is a rare genetic skeletal condition characterized by disproportionate short stature. There is limited evidence on postural control in adults with achondroplasia and how lower limb lengthening (intervention) interacts with body dynamics. This study investigated sway variability during quiet standing in [...] Read more.
Background: Achondroplasia is a rare genetic skeletal condition characterized by disproportionate short stature. There is limited evidence on postural control in adults with achondroplasia and how lower limb lengthening (intervention) interacts with body dynamics. This study investigated sway variability during quiet standing in adults with achondroplasia with natural growth (N) and with lower limb lengthening (LL). Methods: Sixteen adults performed bilateral/unilateral standing tasks. Linear (total excursion, amplitude, and ellipse area) and nonlinear (sample entropy and correlation dimension) center of pressure sway metrics were analyzed in the anteroposterior/mediolateral directions. Relationships between posture metrics, strength, and physical activity were explored. Between-groups statistics were calculated. Results: The LL group exhibited amplified linear sway, indicating larger postural deviations, and reduced sample entropy and correlation dimension, indicative of more rigid and repeated corrections. The N group exhibited more unpredictable and adaptive movement corrections. Numerous correlations emerged between strength and posture measures, with relationships altered by intervention. Conclusions: Adults with achondroplasia display distinct balance strategies influenced by intervention. The results indicate that LL is associated with altered variability and adaptability compared to natural development. Relationships with muscle strength spotlight a key role of muscle capacity in postural control modulation after growth alterations in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)
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8 pages, 242 KiB  
Article
The Evaluation of the Balance Test and MuscleLab Test for the Early Detection of Femoroacetabular Impingement
by Roberto Centemeri, Michele Augusto Riva, Michael Belingheri, Maria Emilia Paladino, Marco Italo D’Orso and Jari Intra
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040159 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1370
Abstract
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a common source of hip pain affecting a wide range of subjects. In this work, we assessed two tests, namely the balance test and the MuscleLab test, in comparison with the flexion–abduction–external rotation (FABER) and flexion–adduction–internal rotation (FADIR) tests, [...] Read more.
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a common source of hip pain affecting a wide range of subjects. In this work, we assessed two tests, namely the balance test and the MuscleLab test, in comparison with the flexion–abduction–external rotation (FABER) and flexion–adduction–internal rotation (FADIR) tests, in order to evaluate the functionality of the neural–musculoskeletal system of the subjects affected by FAI based on the measurement of biomechanical parameters. Our goal was to investigate the early detection of an altered hip joint and to monitor pathology progression over time. A total of 52 subjects, 29 females and 23 males, with an average age of 42 ± 13 years presenting hip impingement diagnosed using X-ray, were enrolled. Twenty-eight patients without signs of hip impingements were used as the control group. The balance test, which evaluates the capacity of a person to keep the orthostatic position against terrestrial gravity, and the MuscleLab test, which measures the force and power generated by active muscles during a movement, as well as FABER and FADIR tests, were performed in each subject. The balance and MuscleLab tests presented 100% sensitivity and higher sensitivity in FAI diagnosis, with 72.9% and 70.4%, respectively, in comparison with those obtained using FABER and FADIR tests, with 59.6% and 67.3%, respectively. The evaluation of the neural–musculoskeletal system using the balance and MuscleLab tests can help in the early detection of the severity of hip impingements and the assessment of non-operative treatments used over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)
11 pages, 805 KiB  
Article
Gait Variability at Different Walking Speeds
by Johnny Padulo, Susanna Rampichini, Marta Borrelli, Daniel Maria Buono, Christian Doria and Fabio Esposito
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040158 - 8 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1879
Abstract
Gait variability (GV) is a crucial measure of inconsistency of muscular activities or body segmental movements during repeated tasks. Hence, GV might serve as a relevant and sensitive measure to quantify adjustments of walking control. However, it has not been clarified whether GV [...] Read more.
Gait variability (GV) is a crucial measure of inconsistency of muscular activities or body segmental movements during repeated tasks. Hence, GV might serve as a relevant and sensitive measure to quantify adjustments of walking control. However, it has not been clarified whether GV is associated with walking speed, a clarification needed to exploit effective better bilateral coordination level. For this aim, fourteen male students (age 22.4 ± 2.7 years, body mass 74.9 ± 6.8 kg, and body height 1.78 ± 0.05 m) took part in this study. After three days of walking 1 km each day at a self-selected speed (SS) on asphalt with an Apple Watch S. 7 (AppleTM, Cupertino, CA, USA), the participants were randomly evaluated on a treadmill at three different walking speed intensities for 10 min at each one, SS − 20%/SS + 20%/ SS, with 5 min of passive recovery in-between. Heart rate (HR) was monitored and normalized as %HRmax, while the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) (CR-10 scale) was asked after each trial. Kinematic analysis was performed, assessing the Contact Time (CT), Swing Time (ST), Stride Length (SL), Stride Cycle (SC), and Gait Variability as Phase Coordination Index (PCI). RPE and HR increased as the walking speed increased (p = 0.005 and p = 0.035, respectively). CT and SC decreased as the speed increased (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.013, respectively), while ST remained unchanged (p = 0.277). SL increased with higher walking speed (p = 0.0001). Conversely, PCI was 3.81 ± 0.88% (high variability) at 3.96 ± 0.47 km·h−1, 2.64 ± 0.75% (low variability) at SS (4.94 ± 0.58 km·h−1), and 3.36 ± 1.09% (high variability) at 5.94 ± 0.70 km·h−1 (p = 0.001). These results indicate that while the metabolic demand and kinematics variables change linearly with increasing speed, the most effective GV was observed at SS. Therefore, SS could be a new methodological approach to choose the individual walking speed, normalize the speed intensity, and avoid a gait pattern alteration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)
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9 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
Force–Velocity Relationship in Cycling and Arm Cranking: A Comparison of Men and Women
by Jan Heller, Ivana Kinkorova, Pavel Vodicka, Pantelis Theodoros Nikolaidis and Stefan Balko
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040151 - 30 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1285
Abstract
This study was aimed at comparing the force–velocity relationship during cycling and arm cranking in males and females. Thirty-two male and twenty-two female healthy volunteers performed a force–velocity test on a cycle ergometer and a cranking ergometer in a randomly selected order. The [...] Read more.
This study was aimed at comparing the force–velocity relationship during cycling and arm cranking in males and females. Thirty-two male and twenty-two female healthy volunteers performed a force–velocity test on a cycle ergometer and a cranking ergometer in a randomly selected order. The theoretical values of the maximum force at zero speed (F0) and the maximum velocity at zero braking force (v0) for the lower and upper limbs were determined, and the maximum anaerobic power (Pmax) was calculated from the individual force–velocity relationship. The Pmax and F0 of the upper limbs related to the lower limbs correspond to 78.2 ± 14.3% and 80.1 ± 17.3% in men and 65.5 ± 12.5% and 74.5 ± 6.5% in women, respectively. The theoretical maximum velocity v0 of the upper limbs to the lower limbs attained 129.1 ± 29.0% in men and 127.4 ± 26.4% in women. The results of the study can serve as reference data for the force–velocity characteristics of the upper and lower limbs of male and female athletes. The results can be used both in training and rehabilitation programs, where the starting point is the objectification of possible strength deficits in various areas of the force–velocity characteristic spectrum of the muscles of the upper and lower limbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)

Review

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15 pages, 1664 KiB  
Review
Managing Lower Limb Muscle Reinjuries in Athletes: From Risk Factors to Return-to-Play Strategies
by Stefano Palermi, Filippo Vittadini, Marco Vecchiato, Alessandro Corsini, Andrea Demeco, Bruno Massa, Carles Pedret, Alberto Dorigo, Mauro Gallo, Giulio Pasta, Gianni Nanni, Alberto Vascellari, Andrea Marchini, Lasse Lempainen and Felice Sirico
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040155 - 6 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3442
Abstract
Muscle injuries and subsequent reinjuries significantly impact athletes, especially in football. These injuries lead to time loss, performance impairment, and long-term health concerns. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of muscle reinjuries, delving into their epidemiology, risk [...] Read more.
Muscle injuries and subsequent reinjuries significantly impact athletes, especially in football. These injuries lead to time loss, performance impairment, and long-term health concerns. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of muscle reinjuries, delving into their epidemiology, risk factors, clinical management, and prevention strategies. Despite advancements in rehabilitation programs and return-to-play criteria, reinjury rates remain alarmingly high. Age and previous muscle injuries are nonmodifiable risk factors contributing to a high reinjury rate. Clinical management, which involves accurate diagnosis, individualized rehabilitation plans, and the establishment of return-to-training and return-to-play criteria, plays a pivotal role during the sports season. Eccentric exercises, optimal loading, and training load monitoring are key elements in preventing reinjuries. The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in predicting and preventing reinjuries offers a promising avenue, emphasizing the need for a multidisciplinary approach to managing these injuries. While current strategies offer some mitigation, there is a pressing need for innovative solutions, possibly leveraging AI, to reduce the incidence of muscle reinjuries in football players. Future research should focus on this direction, aiming to enhance athletes’ well-being and performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Neuromuscular Control of Gait and Posture)
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