Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The prevalence of running as a form of exercise and the necessity of walking for simple locomotion obscure massive forces and moments within the body. An especial area of concern is the knee, as common among these injuries is knee pain as a result from high impact on the ground or ground reaction forces. These forces are altered by the foot strike pattern of the individual; in this study, either rearfoot strike (RFS) or forefoot strike (FFS). This alteration will impact internal forces conducted upward through the body. Given the complexity of the motion of running and the forces involved, is it useful to apply computational modeling to study the underlying mechanical aspects of walking and running. The OpenSim modeling software provides many of the resources required to create and test such actions. A generic musculoskeletal model is scaled to patient specifications, and using marker data and ground reaction force data, kinematics of the captured movement and individual muscle forces are calculated. A simulated model and computational tools allow for measurements physically impossible in vivo; specifically, the compressive tibiofemoral force that may have adverse effects on tissues such as articular cartilage or menisci. While the peak compressive force and ground reaction force (GRF) was found to be higher for FFS than RFS, the impact transient at initial contact was significantly reduced in FFS in both GRF and knee joint contact forces. These findings further explore the impact of gait alterations on internal loading and may provide evidence for future studies examining related parameters such as muscle activation or joint kinematics in association with joint force.
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Kapp, Sean W., "Development of a Computational Framework for Estimating Knee Joint Contact Forces in Running" (2021). Honors Theses. 320.