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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Jan;34(1):130-8.

A three-dimensional shank-foot model to determine the foot motion during landings.

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  • 1German Sport University of Cologne, Institute for Biomechanics, 50933 Cologne, Germany. Arampatzis@hrz.dshs-koeln.de



The purposes of this study were a) to develop a model of the foot capable of describing the foot motion during dynamic movements and b) to study the influence of different mats on foot motion during landing in gymnastics.


Six female gymnasts (height: 1.63 +/- 0.04 m, weight: 58.21 +/- 3.46 kg) participated in this study. All six gymnasts carried out barefoot landings, falling from 80 and 115 cm onto three mats each with a different stiffness (hard, medium, and soft). Three synchronized digital high-speed video cameras (250 Hz) captured the motion of the left shank and foot. At the same time, the reaction forces between mat and foot at the forefoot and rearfoot were measured by two instrumented insoles (Paromed, 1000 Hz). The kinematics of the tibiotalar, talonavicular, and calcaneocuboid joints were examined. The lower leg and the foot were modeled by means of a multi-body system, comprising seven rigid bodies. For each joint, two joint coordinate systems attached on each of the connected segments were defined.


The mat stiffness did not show any influence on the maximal reaction forces or on the kinematics of the tibiotalar joint. For the soft mat, higher maximal eversion angles at the talonavicular and the calcaneocuboid joints were measured.


The relative motion between forefoot and rearfoot was influenced by changing mat stiffness. Therefore, the construction of the mat influenced the motion of the foot. The observation of only the tibiotalar joint is not enough when studying the influence of different mats on foot motion. The functional benefit of the mechanical advantages of a soft mat (higher energy absorption) includes a decrease in stability. The surface of the landing mat should, therefore, be reinforced by a stabilizing mechanism.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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