Individual and generalized lower limb muscle activity and kinematic adaptations during running on an unpredictable irregular surface
© Apps et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
Published: 8 April 2014
Natural surfaces are irregular but only limited studies have researched their effect on gait because of the predominantly flat surfaces where measurements are taken . Regularly, biomechanical research also tends to group mean results of many participants together to find the generalised response to a constraint. This often masks individual adaptation strategies . Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyse biomechanical responses during running on an unpredictable irregular surface (UIS), at the individual level.
Seventeen healthy, male participants ran on a treadmill at 8 km/h with a predictable regular surface (PRS) and an UIS, created by attaching EVA dome shaped inserts of two different heights and hardnesses. The mean and standard deviation, as a measure of variability, were calculated for lower limb kinematics and electromyography of five selected muscles of the left leg for 16 steps. Single parameters between individuals were compared, and additionally group results between the treadmill surfaces were obtained by Wilcoxon signed ranked tests (p<.05).
Individual lower limb muscle activation strategies, accompanied by common group sagittal plane joint angles at touchdown occurred during running stance phase on UIS. Due to the nature of the UIS, it remains unknown whether personal muscular control was triggered by the different perturbation experienced or executed proactively by runners. For better understanding of adaptations to shoe-surface interactions, next to searching for common neuro-muscular patterns, more focus should be placed on analyses of individual responses and the sub-periods of stance phase.
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