Our Research in musculoskeletal and tissue biomechanics and muscle energetics explores the underlying principles of muscle design and the relationship between musculoskeletal structure and function.
Knowledge from this research is applied to understanding musculoskeletal disorders and their rehabilitation.
We adopt a variety of experimental and computational approaches.
- Basic animal research
- Human in vivo imaging and measurement
- Musculoskeletal modelling
Basic animal research
Quantifying tissue loading is fundamental to understanding both normal and dysfunctional movement. Animal models provide the ability to directly measure tissue loading and energetics that are otherwise not possible.
We have adopted avian bipedal models (guinea fowl, ostrich) allowing us to explore directly the relationship between musculoskeletal structure and joint loading, muscle strain patterns (using sonomicrometery techniques and sarcomere imaging) and muscle force (using tendon buckle transducers; in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Calgary).
These animal models are also used to estimate muscle-specific energy use, integrating whole-body energy measurements and an injectible microsphere technique (developed in collaboration with colleagues at Northeastern University and California State Polytechnic University).
We design experiments integrating these techniques, probing questions regarding:
- basic mechanical function of muscle (such as force-length, force-velocity operating ranges during movement)
- how these functions are modulated with changing locomotor demands
- the link between the muscles mechanical function and its metabolic energy use.
The findings from these studies not only reveal underlying principles of muscle function, but inform applied research aimed at improving the functional capacity and energy cost in persons with movement disorders.
Papers from this research include:
- Rubenson, J. and Marsh, R.L. (2009). Mechanical efficiency of limb swing during walking and running in guinea fowl (Numida meleagris). J. Appl. Physiol. 106: 1618 1630.
- Rubenson, J., Besier, T.F., Heliams, B.D., Lloyd, D.A., and Fournier, P.A. (2007) Running in ostriches (Struthio camelus): three-dimensional joint axes alignment and joint kinematics. J. Exp. Biol. 210: 2548-2562.
- Marsh, R.L., Ellerby, D.J., Henry, H.T. and Rubenson, J. (2006). The energetic cost of trunk and distal limb loading during walking and running in guinea fowl Numida meleagris. I. Organismal metabolism and biomechanics. J. Exp. Biol. 209: 2050-2063.
- Rubenson, J., Henry, H.T., Dimoulas, P.M. and Marsh, R.L. (2006). The cost of running uphill: linking organismal and muscle energy use in guinea fowl Numida meleagris. J. Exp. Biol. 209: 2395-2408.
- Rubenson, J., Heliams, B.D., Lloyd, D.A., and Fournier, P.A. (2004). Gait selection in the ostrich: mechanical and metabolic characteristics of walking and running with and without an aerial phase. Proc. R. Soc. B. 271: 1091 1099.
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Human in vivo imaging and measurement
We integrate motion analysis, inverse dynamic modeling, and ultrasound imaging to explore directly the mechanical properties of both human muscle and tendon tissue.
Using a novel measurement technique, our group is establishing force-length and force-velocity properties of the triceps surae muscle group, and their force-length-velocity operating range during walking and running.
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Our group has established an electromyography-driven musculoskeletal modeling approach to study tissue-specific loading during human movement. These techniques are being used to estimate loads in individual muscles, ligaments, bone and cartilage and to address questions regarding tissue remodelling (degeneration / regeneration).
We are also developing these modelling approaches in the guinea fowl to permit both validation of our modelling framework, and also to broaden our research scope in tissue biomechanics and energetics.
Some papers from this research
- Winby C.R., Lloyd D.G., Besier T.F. Kirk T.B., Muscle and external load contribution to knee joint contact loads during normal gait. Journal of Biomechanics, 42(14): 22942300, 2009.
- Winby C.R., Lloyd D.G., Kirk T.B., Evaluation of different analytical methods for subject-specific scaling of musculotendon parameters. Journal of Biomechanics, 41(8): 1682-1688, 2008.
- Lloyd D.G., Besier T.F., Winby C.R., Buchanan T.S., Neuromusculoskeletal modelling and simulation of tissue load in the lower extremities. Routledge Handbook of Biomechanics and Human Movement Science, Editors: Y. Hong and R. Bartlett, Taylor & Francis Books Ltd, Oxford, UK., 3-17, 2008.
- Barrett R.S., Besier T.F., Lloyd D.G., Individual muscle contributions to the swing phase of gait: and EMG based forward dynamics model. Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory, 15: 11461155, 2007.
- Lloyd D. G., Buchanan T. S, and Besier, T.F. Neuromuscular Biomechanical Modelling to Understand Knee Ligament Loading. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol 37(11), 19391947, 2005.
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