University of Twente Student Theses


The effect of fatigue on leg- and joint stiffness during running

Bolding, F.K.H. (2021) The effect of fatigue on leg- and joint stiffness during running.

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Abstract:Background: While running is associated with various health benefits, incidence of injuries is high. The vast majority of injuries are related to overuse. Shock attenuation and the related stiffness of the leg and hip, knee and ankle joints have been implied as factor in overuse injuries. Fatigue is thought to affect the lower extremity stiffness, possibly increasing the risk of overuse injuries in this manner. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the effect of fatigue on the leg, hip, knee and ankle stiffness. Methods: For this purpose, a data set consisting of nine subjects running in both a non-fatigued and a fatigued state was analyzed. Motion was captured with a VICON optical system tracking 34 markers on the body of the subject. Ground reaction forces were measured with two force plates. OpenSim, a software system designed for biomechanical simulation and analysis, was used to perform inverse kinematic and inverse dynamic analysis. From the resulting joint angles and moments, the leg, hip, knee and ankle stiffnesses were calculated. Results: Subjects, when running fatigued, showed a significant reduction of the leg stiffness and a significant increase of the knee stiffness when compared to non-fatigued running. The hip stiffness could not be suitably determined, as no linear relation between the net hip moment and hip angle was found between initial contact and mid-stance. The ankle stiffness did not show significant changes between non-fatigued and fatigued running. Conclusion: A decrease of the leg stiffness and a increase of the knee stiffness can both be associated with overuse injuries, implying running while fatigued increases the odds of sustaining an overuse injury. Deeper analysis of the changes in ground reaction forces, leg compression, joint moments and joint angles is needed to better understand the found stiffness changes. Future studies are recommended to use a treadmill with integrated force plates to increase the quantity and consistency of analysed strides. Keywords— Running, Fatigue, Leg stiffness, Joint stiffness, Quasi-stiffness, OpenSim
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:42 biology, 52 mechanical engineering
Programme:Biomedical Technology BSc (56226)
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