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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2000 May;15(4):256-60.

Determination of hydrodynamic drag forces and drag coefficients on human leg/foot model during knee exercise.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, PL 35, 40351, Jyväskylä, Finland.



The purpose of this laboratory experiment was to measure hydrodynamic drag forces in barefoot/hydro-boot conditions and accordingly, to determine the coefficients of drag on human leg/foot model during simulated knee extension-flexion exercise.


The prosthesis of the human lower leg was set in a water tank and connected into an isokinetic force dynamometer to measure resistive forces during knee motion.


Quantifying resistance for aquatic exercises has been a challenge in hydrotherapy. The use of models of foot/leg provides a practical method to calculate coefficients of drag and to estimate resistance for rehabilitation purposes in musculoskeletal and amputee patients.


The dynamometer produced constant angular velocities of 250 degrees /s, 270 degrees /s and 300 degrees /s to the prosthesis. The baseline for measurements was performed in barefoot condition. A hydro-boot was used to study effects of increased frontal area (30%) of the leg on drag forces and coefficients.


The maximal drag force values were 61 N (300 degrees /s) in barefoot and 270 N (270 degrees /s) in hydro-boot condition. Related drag coefficient values during the range of motion were from 0.3 to 0.1 and from 1 to 0.8, respectively.


Drag force and related drag coefficient were highest during the early part of extension (150-140 degrees flexion) as the model was opposing the lift forces with the influence of water resistance. The effect of velocity was remarkable on drag forces but minimal on drag coefficient values. RelevanceThe drag forces and coefficients of this experiment can be clinically utilised to calculate hydrodynamic forces to develop progressive knee exercise programs as well as to design of prosthesis for amputee patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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