Tibiofemoral joint contact forces increase with load magnitude and walking speed but remain almost unchanged with different types of carried load

Gavin K. Lenton*, Peter J. Bishop, David J. Saxby, Tim L. A. Doyle, Claudio Pizzolato, Daniel Billing, David G. Lloyd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) in the military reduce soldier capability and impose substantial costs. Characterizing biomechanical surrogates of MSI during commonly performed military tasks (e.g., load carriage) is necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of possible interventions to reduce MSI risk. This study determined the effects of body-borne load distribution, load magnitude, and walking speed on tibiofemoral contact forces. Twenty-one Australian Army Reserve soldiers completed a treadmill walking protocol in an unloaded condition and wearing four armor types (standard-issue and three prototypes) with two load configurations (15 and 30 kg) for a total of 8 armor x load ensembles. In each ensemble, participants completed a 5-minute warm-up, and then walked for 10 minutes at both moderate (1.53 ms-1) and fast (1.81 ms-1) speeds. During treadmill walking, three-dimensional kinematics, ground reaction forces, and muscle activity from nine lower-limb muscles were collected in the final minute of each speed. These data were used as inputs into a neuromusculoskeletal model, which estimated medial, lateral and total tibiofemoral contact forces. Repeated measures analyses of variance revealed no differences for any variables between armor types, but peak medial compartment contact forces increased when progressing from moderate to fast walking and with increased load (p<0.001). Acute exposure to load carriage increased estimated tibiofemoral contact forces 10.1 and 19.9% with 15 and 30kg of carried load, respectively, compared to unloaded walking. These results suggest that soldiers carrying loads in excess of 15 kg for prolonged periods could be at greater risk of knee MSI than those with less exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0206859
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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