72 research outputs found

    Osteoarthritis year in review 2021: mechanics

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    Osteoarthritis (OA) has a complex, heterogeneous and only partly understood etiology. There is a definite role of joint cartilage pathomechanics in originating and progressing of the disease. Although it is still not identified precisely enough to design or select targeted treatments, the progress of this year's research demonstrates that this goal became much closer. On multiple scales - tissue, joint and whole body - an increasing number of studies were done, with impressive results. (1) Technology based instrument innovations, especially when combined with machine learning models, have broadened the applicability of biomechanics. (2) Combinations with imaging make biomechanics much more precise & personalized. (3) The combination of Musculoskeletal & Finite Element Models yield valid personalized cartilage loads. (4) Mechanical outcomes are becoming increasingly meaningful to inform and evaluate treatments, including predictive power from biomechanical models. Since most recent advancements in the field of biomechanics in OA are at the level of a proof op principle, future research should not only continue on this successful path of innovation, but also aim to develop clinical workflows that would facilitate including precision biomechanics in large scale studies. Eventually this will yield clinical tools for decision making and a rationale for new therapies in OA.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Spasticity assessment in cerebral palsy

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    Spasticity is an important, but not the only, component contributing to the increased joint resistance experienced by children with spastic cerebral palsy. Conventional clinical spasticity scales, based on physical examination of the passive muscle, are easy to apply in pediatric populations. Unfortunately, these have low reliability and are unable to differentiate between the different components of joint hyper-resistance. To correctly differentiate spasticity from other neural and non-neural contributions, instrumented assessments that integrate electrophysiological and biomechanical measures are required. In the last 15 years, great advancements in clinically applicable, instrumented assessments were made. However, the translation from research to clinical setting is lagging behind. Simple, yet accurate, instrumented assessments are expected to greatly advance clinical practice in terms of treatment planning based on etiological classification and subsequent outcome evaluation. In addition, the transfer of the research findings to functional outcome would require to extend our research agenda to include assessments of hyperreflexia in the active muscle. Altogether these instrumented methods are not only needed to classify different aspects of joint hyper-resistance but will also provide further insight into its pathophysiology enabling the development of future treatment options for children with spastic cerebral palsy.Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    The Stumblemeter: Design and Validation of a System That Detects and Classifies Stumbles during Gait

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    Stumbling during gait is commonly encountered in patients who suffer from mild to serious walking problems, e.g., after stroke, in osteoarthritis, or amputees using a lower leg prosthesis. Instead of self-reporting, an objective assessment of the number of stumbles in daily life would inform clinicians more accurately and enable the evaluation of treatments that aim to achieve a safer walking pattern. An easy-to-use wearable might fulfill this need. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether a single inertial measurement unit (IMU) placed at the shank and machine learning algorithms could be used to detect and classify stumbling events in a dataset comprising of a wide variety of daily movements. Ten healthy test subjects were deliberately tripped by an unexpected and unseen obstacle while walking on a treadmill. The subjects stumbled a total of 276 times, both using an elevating recovery strategy and a lowering recovery strategy. Subjects also performed multiple Activities of Daily Living. During data processing, an event-defined window segmentation technique was used to trace high peaks in acceleration that could potentially be stumbles. In the reduced dataset, time windows were labelled with the aid of video annotation. Subsequently, discriminative features were extracted and fed to train seven different types of machine learning algorithms. Trained machine learning algorithms were validated using leave-one-subject-out cross-validation. Support Vector Machine (SVM) algorithms were most successful, and could detect and classify stumbles with 100% sensitivity, 100% specificity, and 96.7% accuracy in the independent testing dataset. The SVM algorithms were implemented in a user-friendly, freely available, stumble detection app named Stumblemeter. This work shows that stumble detection and classification based on SVM is accurate and ready to apply in clinical practiceBiomechatronics & Human-Machine ControlMedical Instruments & Bio-Inspired Technolog

    Energy cost optimized dorsal leaf ankle-foot-orthoses reduce impact forces on the contralateral leg in people with unilateral plantar flexor weakness

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    Background: In individuals with unilateral plantar flexor weakness, the second peak of the vertical ground reaction force (GRF) is decreased. This leads to a higher ground reaction force, e.g. impact, of the contralateral leg, potentially explaining quadriceps muscle and/or knee joint pain. Energy cost optimized dorsal leaf ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) may increase the push-off ground reaction force, which in turn could lead to lower impact forces on the contralateral leg. Research questions: 1) Are impact forces increased in the contralateral leg of people with unilateral plantar flexor weakness compared to healthy subjects? 2) Do energy cost optimized AFOs reduce impact forces and improve leg impact symmetry compared to walking without AFO in people with unilateral plantar flexor weakness? Methods: Nine subjects with unilateral plantar flexor weakness were provided a dorsal leaf AFO with a stiffness primarily optimized for energy cost. Using 3D gait analyses peak vertical GRF during loading response with and without AFO, and the symmetry between the legs in peak GRF were calculated. Peak GRF and symmetry were compared with reference data of 23 healthy subjects. Results: The contralateral leg showed a significant higher peak vertical GRF (12.0 ± 0.9 vs 11.2 ± 0.6 N/kg, p = 0.005) compared to healthy reference data. When walking with AFO, the peak vertical GRF of the contralateral leg significantly reduced (from 12.0 ± 0.9 to 11.4 ± 0.7 N/kg, p = 0.017) and symmetry improved compared to no AFO (from 0.93 ± 0.06 to 1.01 ± 0.05, p < 0.001). Conclusion: In subjects with unilateral plantar flexor weakness, impact force on the contralateral leg was increased when compared to healthy subjects and dorsal leaf AFOs optimized for energy cost substantially reduced this force and improved impact symmetry when compared to walking without AFO. This indicates that dorsal leaf AFOs may reduce pain resulting from increased impact forces during gait in the contralateral leg in people with unilateral plantar flexor weakness.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Responsiveness of the Foot Profile Score in children with hemiplegia

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    Background: The Foot Profile Score (FPS) is a single score that summarises foot posture and dynamic foot motion during the gait cycle based on the kinematic data of the Oxford Foot Model. The FPS enables clinicians and researchers to quantify foot abnormalities during gait, to monitor change in foot/ankle motion over time, and to measure the outcome of intervention. With the creation of a new outcome measure, it is important to test its responsiveness in a clinical population for whom it may be sensitive to change. Aim: To evaluate the responsiveness of the FPS in a clinical population following isolated foot and ankle surgery. Methods: Using previous work completed to validate the FPS, we defined the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for the FPS. Using this MCID, we applied it to a clinical population of 37 children with cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia, comparing their FPS before and after foot and ankle surgery. A regression analysis looked at potential relationships between the change in FPS and their pre-operative FPS, age at surgery, and time since surgery. Results: An MCID of 2.4 degrees was calculated through regression analysis. The mean change from the pre-operative FPS to the post-operative FPS was 4.6 (SD 3.7 with a range from −0.1 to 13.4). Twenty-eight children (76%) had a change in their FPS greater than the MCID. A regression analyses only showed a clear regression between pre-operative FPS and change in FPS (R2 = 0.58 p < 0.01).Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Effect of walking with a modified gait on activation patterns of the knee spanning muscles in people with medial knee osteoarthritis

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    Objective: To evaluate muscle activation patterns and co-contraction around the knee in response to walking with modified gait patterns in patients with medial compartment knee-osteoarthritis (KOA). Design: 40 medial KOA patients walked on an instrumented treadmill. Surface EMG activity from seven knee-spanning muscles (gastrocnemius, hamstrings, quadriceps), kinematics, and ground reaction forces were recorded. Patients received real-time visual feedback on target kinematics to modify their gait pattern towards three different gait modifications: Toe-in, Wider steps, Medial Thrust. The individualized feedback aimed to reduce their first peak knee adduction moment (KAM) by ≥ 10%. Changes in muscle activations and medial/lateral co-contraction index during the loading response phase (10–35% of the gait cycle) were evaluated, for the steps in which ≥ 10% KAM reduction was achieved. Results: Data from 30 patients were included in the analyses; i.e. all who could successfully reduce their KAM in a sufficient number of steps by ≥ 10%. When walking with ≥ 10% KAM reduction, Medial Thrust gait (KAM − 31%) showed increased flexor activation (24%), co-contraction (17%) and knee flexion moment (35%). Isolated wider-step gait also reduced the KAM (− 26%), but to a smaller extent, but without increasing muscle activation amplitudes and co-contraction. Toe-in gait showed the greatest reduction in the KAM (− 35%), but was accompanied by an increased flexor activation of 42% and hence an increased co-contraction index. Conclusion: Gait modifications that are most effective in reducing the KAM also yield an increase in co-contraction, thereby compromising at least part of the effects on net knee load.Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Reliability and Validity of IMU-Based Foot Progression Angle Measurement under Different Gait Retraining Strategies

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    Load modifying gait retraining strategies, such as changing the foot progression angle (FPA) to toe-in and toe-out gait, are used for people with medial knee osteoarthritis. The FPA can be measured using a pressure sensitive walkway (PSW), but inertial measurement units (IMUs) are considered more suitable for clinical use. This study evaluated the reliability and validity of an IMU system, to measure FPA under different gait retraining strategies. Twenty healthy participants walked a 10-m-long path using different gait strategies (natural (2), toe-out gait (1), toe-in gait (1)) during four 90-s trials. FPA was measured simultaneously with IMUs and a PSW, the latter considered the reference standard. There was good and excellent reliability for the IMUs and PSW FPA measurements, respectively (ICC: IMU, 0.89; PSW, 0.97). Minimal detectable change (MDC) was 4.5° for the IMUs and 2.7° for the PSW. Repeated measures ANOVA indicated a significant effect of gait type on FPA (p < 0.001), but not the measurement instrument (p = 0.875). Bland–Altman plots demonstrated the good agreement of both systems for the baseline condition, though the IMUs seemed to consistently overestimate the FPA value compared to the PSW. In conclusion, IMUs are a reliable and valid measurement system for measuring FPA under different gait retraining strategies. The differences between the systems are significant for all gait strategies, so the systems should not be used interchangeably.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Modifying ankle foot orthosis stiffness in patients with calf muscle weakness: gait responses on group and individual level

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    BACKGROUND: To improve gait, persons with calf muscle weakness can be provided with a dorsal leaf spring ankle foot orthosis (DLS-AFO). These AFOs can store energy during stance and return this energy during push-off, which, in turn, reduces walking energy cost. Simulations indicate that the effect of the DLS-AFO on walking energy cost and gait biomechanics depends on its stiffness and on patient characteristics. We therefore studied the effect of varying DLS-AFO stiffness on reducing walking energy cost, and improving gait biomechanics and AFO generated power in persons with non-spastic calf muscle weakness, and whether the optimal AFO stiffness for maximally reducing walking energy cost varies between persons. METHODS: Thirty-seven individuals with neuromuscular disorders and non-spastic calf muscle weakness were included. Participants were provided with a DLS-AFO of which the stiffness could be varied. For 5 stiffness configurations (ranging from 2.8 to 6.6 Nm/degree), walking energy cost (J/kg/m) was assessed using a 6-min comfortable walk test. Selected gait parameters, e.g. maximal dorsiflexion angle, ankle power, knee angle, knee moment and AFO generated power, were derived from 3D gait analysis. RESULTS: On group level, no significant effect of DLS-AFO stiffness on reducing walking energy cost was found (p = 0.059, largest difference: 0.14 J/kg/m). The AFO stiffness that reduced energy cost the most varied between persons. The difference in energy cost between the least and most efficient AFO stiffness was on average 10.7%. Regarding gait biomechanics, increasing AFO stiffness significantly decreased maximal ankle dorsiflexion angle (- 1.1 ± 0.1 degrees per 1 Nm/degree, p < 0.001) and peak ankle power (- 0.09 ± 0.01 W/kg, p < 0.001). The reduction in minimal knee angle (- 0.3 ± 0.1 degrees, p = 0.034), and increment in external knee extension moment in stance (- 0.01 ± 0.01 Nm/kg, p = 0.016) were small, although all stiffness' substantially affected knee angle and knee moment compared to shoes only. No effect of stiffness on AFO generated power was found (p = 0.900). CONCLUSIONS: The optimal efficient DLS-AFO stiffness varied largely between persons with non-spastic calf muscle weakness. Results indicate this is caused by an individual trade-off between ankle angle and ankle power affected differently by AFO stiffness. We therefore recommend that the AFO stiffness should be individually optimized to best improve gait. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Nederlands Trial Register 5170. Registration date: May 7th 2015. http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=5170.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Reaction moments matter when designing lower-extremity robots for tripping recovery

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    Balance recovery after tripping often requires an active adaptation of foot placement. Thus far, few attempts have been made to actively assist forward foot placement for balance recovery employing wearable devices. This study aims to explore the possibilities of active forward foot placement through two paradigms of actuation: assistive moments exerted with the reaction moments either internal or external to the human body, namely 'joint' moments and 'free' moments, respectively. Both paradigms can be applied to manipulate the motion of segments of the body (e.g., the shank or thigh), but joint actuators also exert opposing reaction moments on neighbouring body segments, altering posture and potentially inhibiting tripping recovery. We therefore hypothesised that a free moment paradigm is more effective in assisting balance recovery following tripping. The simulation software SCONE was used to simulate gait and tripping over various ground-fixed obstacles during the early swing phase. To aid forward foot placement, joint moments and free moments were applied either on the thigh to augment hip flexion or on the shank to augment knee extension. Two realizations of joint moments on the hip were simulated, with the reaction moment applied to either the pelvis or the contralateral thigh. The simulation results show that assisting hip flexion with either actuation paradigm on the thigh can result in full recovery of gait with a margin of stability and leg kinematics closely matching the unperturbed case. However, when assisting knee extension with moments on the shank, free moment effectively assist balance but joint moments with the reaction moment on the thigh do not. For joint moments assisting hip flexion, placement of the reaction moment on the contralateral thigh was more effective in achieving the desired limb dynamics than placing the reaction on the pelvis. Poor choice of placement of reaction moments may therefore have detrimental consequences for balance recovery, and removing them entirely (i.e., free moment) could be a more effective and reliable alternative. These results challenge conventional assumptions and may inform the design and development of a new generation of minimalistic wearable devices to promote balance during gait.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro

    Description of orthotic properties and effect evaluation of ankle-foot orthoses in non-spastic calf muscle weakness

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    Objective: To describe the orthotic properties and evaluate the effects of ankle-foot orthoses for calf muscle weakness in persons with non-spastic neuromuscular disorders compared with shoes-only. Design: Cross-sectional study. Subjects: Thirty-four persons who used ankle-foot orthoses for non-spastic calf muscle weakness. Methods: The following orthotic properties were measured: ankle-foot orthosis type, mass, and ankle and footplate stiffness. For walking with shoes- only and with the ankle-foot orthoses, walking speed, energy cost and gait biomechanics were assessed. Results: Four types of ankle-foot orthosis were identified: shaft-reinforced orthopaedic shoes (n = 6), ventral ankle-foot orthoses (n = 10), dorsal leaf ankle-foot orthoses (n = 12) and dorsiflexion-stop ankle-foot orthoses (n = 6). These types differed significantly with regards to mass, ankle-and footplate stiffness. Compared with shoes-only, all anklefoot orthoses/orthopaedic shoes groups combined increased walking speed by 0.18 m/s (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.13-0.23), reduced energy cost by 0.70 J/kg/m (95% CI 0.48-0.94) and limited ankle dorsiflexion by -3.0° (95% CI 1.3-4.7). Higher ankle-foot orthoses ankle stiffness correlated with greater reductions in walking energy cost and maximal ankle dorsiflexion angle. Conclusion: Ankle-foot orthoses for persons with non-spastic calf muscle weakness vary greatly in properties and effects on gait. The large variation in effectiveness may be due to differences in ankle stiffness, although this requires further prospective evaluation.Biomechatronics & Human-Machine Contro
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