28 February 2013

Biomechanics of the SI joint

A nice video on what is takes to catch a football

27 May 2012

Improving biomechanics through peer collaboration

Improving physical education student teachers’ knowledge and understanding of applied biomechanical principles through peer collaboration 

Background: Student teachers start their Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Physical Education (PGCE PE) course with a variety of sports-related undergraduate degrees. This makes it difficult to ensure that they have adequate subject knowledge to teach all areas of activity of the National Curriculum for Physical Education. Knowledge and application of biomechanical principles by student teachers undertaking a PGCE in PE has been identified as a particular subject knowledge area in need of improvement. Biomechanics is the application of mechanical principles to biological systems. It can assist the teacher in monitoring and improving performance and can minimise the performer's risk of injury. The ‘subject content knowledge’ of applied biomechanics is therefore particularly beneficial for student teachers learning to teach PE.
Aims: The purpose of this paper was to examine the effectiveness of a 4-week ‘principles of movement’ (PoM) pilot module; a module designed to develop and improve the applied biomechanical subject knowledge of student teachers teaching PE.
Methods: The PoM module, delivered at one university in the southwest of England, consisted of a 1-hour introductory lecture outlining key biomechanical principles underpinning sports performance (e.g. angle of release, release/take-off velocities, stability, centre of gravity, kinematic/kinetic chain, angular–linear motion relationship, moment of inertia and angular momentum). In groups of two or three (peer collaboration), student teachers selected and prepared a teaching task (with tutorial support) over the following week and delivered their 10-minute teaching episode in either week 3 or 4 on at least four occasions to a rotating group of learners (instructional practice). The teaching task required selected PoM to be outlined and taught with respect to either one or two sporting techniques. The effectiveness of this PoM module in improving student teachers’ knowledge of applied biomechanical principles was assessed using a test comprising 15 questions with an emphasis on the application of biomechanical PoM to sports performance. This test was administered on two separate occasions (pre- and post-module), to 54 student teachers (28 females; 26 males) undertaking the 1-year PGCE PE course.
Results: An analysis of pre- and post-module test scores found that the short 4-week PoM module enabled student teachers to significantly increase their score (mean improvement of 6.8%, ±7.8; p < 0.05). Overall, 74% of students (40/54) showed a positive increase in test score. This was considered to reflect an improvement in student teachers’ application of subject content knowledge; specifically, applied PoM.
Conclusions: It was concluded that knowledge of applied biomechanical PoM can enhance student teachers’ subject content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Teacher educators might wish to include similar PoM modules on their Initial Teacher Education PE programme for student teachers.

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25 May 2012

Stuart Miller on Running Shoes

Running shoes: the real science

Seemingly scientific claims determine the marketing, sale, and even clinical prescription
of trainers. Manufacturers and sales assistants could probably be forgiven; after all, they are working
in a commercial environment. However, many podiatrists, osteopaths, and physiotherapists also
recommend specific types of trainers, insoles, or orthotics to help with different running-related

The majority of readers who have gone into a running shop may well have been told that they
either over/under pronate, have high/low arches, have a heavy impact, run too much on their heels,
are stiff, or have frontal knee movement, among other issues. And there seems to be a specific shoe
that fits every single condition seen. This would all be very helpful – IF there was actually anything to back it up!

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Walking in an unstable shoe changes hip, knee and ankle biomechanics

Walking in an unstable Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoe introduces kinematic and kinetic changes at the hip, knee and ankle before and after a 6-week accommodation period: a comprehensive analysis using principal component analysis (PCA) 

Background: Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals who wear the unstable Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoe experience a reduction in back and joint pain. A more comprehensive biomechanical gait analysis is needed to better understand the mechanisms for symptom relief and what the long-term implications of wearing these shoes might be on the body.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the gait changes introduced at the hip, knee and ankle before and after wearing an unstable MBT shoe for a 6-week accommodation period.
Methods: Three-dimensional joint angles and moments were measured for 23 healthy individuals while walking in an unstable MBT shoe and a stable control shoe, both before and after a 6-week accommodation period of wearing the unstable shoe at their workplace. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used on the stance phase waveforms to identify differences between the two shoes and two testing sessions.
Results: Joint angle and moment differences between the two shoe conditions were identified both before and after wearing the unstable shoe for the accommodation period. Notable kinematic changes included reduced hip flexion–extension and ankle adduction–abduction range of motion, increased early stance dorsiflexion and increased knee internal rotation for unstable shoe walking. Ankle moments tended to be greater for the unstable shoe and at the hip and knee, both increases and decreases in moments were observed.
Conclusions: While many of the identified changes agree with previous research, this is the first study to report increases in some joint moments for the unstable MBT shoe. These increases along with other notable changes do, however, require further investigation to better understand the long-term implications of the unstable MBT shoe.

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