Segment interactions within the swing leg during unloaded and loaded running

P E Martin, P R Cavanagh
Journal of Biomechanics 1990, 23 (6): 529-36
In this study, designed to determine the effect of lower extremity inertia manipulation on joint kinetics and segment energetics during the swing phase, 15 male distance runners were filmed as they performed treadmill running (3.35 m s-1) under five load conditions: no added load and loads of 0.25 kg and 0.50 kg added to each thigh or each foot. Results of this study demonstrated that the energetics of the lower extremity movements during the swing phase of the running cycle were dominated by mechanical energy transfers between adjacent segments attributed to the joint reaction forces, which acted to redistribute mechanical energy within the system. These contributions were considerably greater than those of the net joint moments, which primarily reflected muscular generation and dissipation of mechanical energy. Lower extremity loading caused little change in the movement pattern of the swing leg. However, increases in the joint reaction forces and net moments and in the amount of work done and the energy transfer attributed to the reaction forces and moments were observed, but were limited to the joints proximal to the location of the added load. These results were consistent with the increased aerobic demand associated with increases in lower extremity inertia that have been reported elsewhere and also have implications for the manner in which the neuromuscular system controls the motion of the legs during running.

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