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Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 1990;204(1):21-8.

The role of the quadriceps in controlling impulsive forces around heel strike.

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Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Headington.


The damaging effect of transient loads on joints has been observed in vitro and in vivo, and may be an aetiological factor in osteoarthrosis. The events around heel strike, when the velocity of the foot is brought rapidly to zero, may be a source of such loads in normal activity. By modifying the rate at which the limb descends to the ground, quadriceps action influences the magnitude of the heel strike transient. Experiments were carried out to analyse the occurrence of these transients, and a two-dimensional mathematical model of the knee joint and lower leg was used to calculate the forces developed at the knee in response to them. Paralysis of the quadriceps resulted in a large increase in the heel strike transient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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