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J Appl Biomech. 2010 Nov;26(4):473-83.

Dynamics and energetics of impacts in crutch walking.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering and Centre for Intelligent Machines, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The impulsive dynamics associated with the impact of the crutch with the ground is an important topic of research, since this is known to be the main cause of energy loss during crutch gait. In this article, a four-segmental 2D model based on anthropometric body segment parameters is used to analyze various dynamics aspects of such impact. For this purpose, a novel formulation based on the decomposition of the tangent space of the biomechanical system to two subspaces associated with the constrained and admissible motions is developed. Detailed numerical analysis is presented to discuss the effects of body configuration and crutch length on the kinetic energy redistribution, velocity change and impulsive contact forces generated. The conclusions reached via this analysis give guidelines for optimal crutch selection or crutch-use teaching that can be applied to injured subjects. For instance, to reduce energy consumption which leads to a reduction of muscular fatigue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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