A comparison and update of direct kinematic-kinetic models of leg stiffness in human running
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Direct kinematic-kinetic modelling currently represents the “Gold-standard” in leg stiffness quantification during three-dimensional (3D) motion capture experiments. However, the medial-lateral components of ground reaction force and leg length have been neglected in current leg stiffness formulations. It is unknown if accounting for all 3D would alter healthy biologic estimates of leg stiffness, compared to present direct modelling methods. This study compared running leg stiffness derived from a new method (multiplanar method) which includes all three Cartesian axes, against current methods which either only include the vertical axis (line method) or only the plane of progression (uniplanar method). Twenty healthy female runners performed shod overground running at 5.0 m/s. Three-dimensional motion capture and synchronised in-ground force plates were used to track the change in length of the leg vector (hip joint centre to centre of pressure) and resultant projected ground reaction force. Leg stiffness was expressed as dimensionless units, as a percentage of an individual's bodyweight divided by standing leg length (BW/LL). Leg stiffness using the line method was larger than the uniplanar method by 15.6%BW/LL (P < .001), and multiplanar method by 24.2%BW/LL (P < .001). Leg stiffness from the uniplanar method was larger than the multiplanar method by 8.5%BW/LL (6.5 kN/m) (P < .001). The inclusion of medial-lateral components significantly increased leg deformation magnitude, accounting for the reduction in leg stiffness estimate with the multiplanar method. Given that limb movements typically occur in 3D, the new multiplanar method provides the most complete accounting of all force and length components in leg stiffness calculation.
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