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Chapter 4

Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and


Analysis

Accurate description of movement is essential for understanding underlying biomechanics. Fundemental to the description of movement is the measurement of the
movement. Measurement is the quantitative description of the human motion. Kinematics and Kinetics are two such quantitative description of the movements.
Analysis is the process of understanding the measured data of the movement.
Analysis allows us to:
characterize, or gain understaing of the human movement
evaluate, to determine the performance of a human movement in comparison to
another movement
predict, by understanding relationship between various factors controlling the
human movement so the values we observe for some movements can be used to
predict others, and
improve, by identifying roadblocks, root causes, inefficiencies, and other opportunities for improvement, for example sports performance or rehabilation.

4.1 Kinematics
Kinematics is a branch of mechanics that accurately describes the geometry of the
human motion without taking into account the forces that produce the motion. Kinematics of human movement mainly includes the following variables:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Time
Linear and Angular Displacements
Linear and Angular Velocity
Linear and Angular Acceleration

The complete kinematics of any body segment requires 15 data variables, all of
which are changing with time:
1. Position (x,y,z) of segment center of mass
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2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Linear velocity (x,


y,
z ) of segment center of mass
Linear acceleration (x,
y,
z) of segment center of mass
Angle of segment in two planes,xy , yz
Angualar velocity of segment in two planes,xy ,yz
Angualar acceleration of segment in two planes,xy ,yz

The third angle data in this list are redundant; because a segments direction can
be completely described in two planes.
For a complete description of the total body with 12 segments (2 feet + 2 legs
+ 2 thighs + trunk + head + 2 upper arms + 2 forearms and hands), movement
description of simple motion in three-dimensional (3D) space required 15x12=180
data variables. More complex movement requires more number of variables. Certain
simplifications reduces the number of variables to a manageable number. In symmetrical level walking, for example, we can assume sagittal plane movement and
can normally ignore the arm movement. The head, arms, and trunk (HAT) are often
considered to be a single segment, and assuming symmetry, we need to collect data
from one lower limb only. The data variables in this case (four segments, one plane)
can be reduced to a more manageable.
The heart of kinematics analysis is the study of movement with reference to
the amount of time taken to carry out an activity. Mainly four variables are used
for kinematics anaysis: position, velocity, acceleration, and time. However higher
derivative of position are sometimes used in biomechanical analysis.
Table 4.1 Higher Order Differentiation of Position
Order

Derivative of position

Meaning

Interpretation

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
-1
-2
-3
-4
-5

Velocity
Acceleration
Jerk
Jounce (snap)
Crackle
Pop
Lock
Drop
Abesement
Absity
Abseleration
abserk
absounce

Rate of change of position


Rate of change of velocity
Rate of change of acceleration
Rate of change of jerk
Rate of change of Jounce
Rate of change of crackle
Rate of change of pop
Rate of change of lock
Time integral of position
Time integral of absement
Time integral of absity
Time integral of abseleration
Time integral of abserk

Smoothness

Table foot note (with superscript)

For example, Jerk is a quantification of smooth movements. When a vehicle


with passengers is moving, the discomfort level can be measured using Jerk. Or,
minimum Jerk needed to cause damange to the passengers can be quantified, and
therefore vehicles can be designed to avoid such damages. Railway Trains typically
requirs to keep the jerk less than 2 metres per second cubed for passenger comfort.

4.2 Kinetics

63

4.2 Kinetics
Kinetics is the study of the force system that causes the motion of the human body
or segments. The forces, which act on the human body, can be internal or external.
Internal forces refer to forces generated by muscles pulling on bones via their tendons and to bone-on-bone forces exerted across joint surfaces. External forces on
the body refer to those forces acting from without, such as the force of gravity, or
the force from any body contact with the ground, environment, sport equipment, or
another human.
Four quantities are important to describe the force completely for movement
analaysis:
1.
2.
3.
4.

magnitude of force
direction of force
point of application of force
duration for which the force is applied

Graphically, a force is represented by an arrow at the point of application. The


orientation of the arrow indicates the line of action and the arrowhead denotes the
direction and sense of the vector.
Both scalars and vectors arc special forms of a more general category of all
quantities mechanics called tensors. Scalars are also known zero-order tensors,
whereas vectors such as force are firstorder tensors. Concepts such as stress and
strain are second order tensors.
Torque or moments of force is the rotational equivalent of force. It may be
thought of as a measure of tendency of a force to cause a rotation.
Knowledge of patterns of forces is necessary for an understanding of the cause of
any movement - analysis. If we have full kinematic description, accurate anthropometric measures, and external forces, we can calculate the joint reaction forces and
mucle moments. This prediction is called inverse solution and is a very powerful
tool to gaining insight into the net summation of all muscle activity at each joint.
Such information is very useful to the coach, surgeon, therapist, and kinetheiologist in their diagnostic assessments. The effect of training, treatment, or surgery is
clearly visisble at the level of assessment, although it is obscured in the original
kinematics.
Though there are many kinematic and kinetic variables, a good analysis of human moevment may use minimum of such measured variables. For example,
analysis of high jump may require only the velocity and height of the bodys
center of mass. On the other hand, mechanical power analysis of amputees
gait may require all the variables that may be measured.
The combination of kinematic and kinetic variables lead to some more variables
such as:

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Table 4.2 Mass times Higher Order Differentiation of Position


Order

Derivative of position

Meaning

Mass times the derivative

1
2
3
4
5
6

Velocity
Acceleration
Jerk
Jounce (snap)
Crackle
Pop

Rate of change of position


Rate of change of velocity
Rate of change of acceleration
Rate of change of jerk
Rate of change of Jounce
Rate of change of crackle

Momentum
Force
Yank
Tug
Snatch
Shake

Table foot note (with superscript)

1.
2.
3.
4.

Linear momentum (m x v) and Angular momentum (I x )


Inertia (m) and Moment of Inertia (I)
Kinetic Energy (1/2 x mass x velocity2 )
Power (energy / time taken or (force x distance / time taken) or (force x velocity)
Even the higher order definition of Momentum and Force could be useful.
Momentum P = mass velocity
Force F = mass acceleration
Yank Y = mass jerk
Tug T = mass snap
Snatch S = mass crackle
Shake Sh = mass pop

Although kinematic and kinetic analysis in biomechanics is important, they alone


is rarely useful. These analysis in combination with the knowledge of joint and
skeletal mechanics and its anatomy, as well as the effects that forces produce on the
body, has important implications for the use of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

4.2.1 Dynamics
In the literature of mechanics the term kinetics is used as synonym to dynamics.
In biomechanical anaylysis the kinematic descriptors may include dynamic descriptions and vice versa. For example, kinematic quantities include change of position as a function of time and the derivatives (to an orders) of this function. Also
included in kinematics are period or frequency. amplitude, lengths and angles used
to describe the configuration of a system of rigid bodies including the location of
center of joints and lever arms: lengths and angles used to describe the shape of rigid

4.3 Kinematics of Tibiofemoral Joints

65

bodies: lengths and angles used to describe positions of the center of mass of rigid
bodies: and lengths used to describe height in the graVitational field or displacement from equilibrium of a stretched spring. Implicit in many of these descriptors
are references to dynamic properties such as rigidity, gravity. and centers of mass.
Torques are implicit in references to lever arms. Generalized coordinates are a
means of describing positions that implicitly incorporate rigid body constraints to
reduce the complexity of description. A common example is the use of angles at the
joints to describe the configuration of an arm assuming the rigid nature of the bones.
Dynamic descriptors include among others mass or inertial coefficients. damping
coefficients. stiffness coefficients. external forcing coefficients. and coefficients of
elasticity. The explicit relevance of kinematics to dynamic descriptors is apparent
in the associated dimensions. Dynamics includes not only the mass dimension, but
also the (kinematic) dimensions of length and time. For instance. force is a dynamic
descriptor since. dimensionally, it is mass-length per time squared. The dimensional
composition of force reflects the form of the dynamic scaling relation that describes
the scaling between kinematic properties and dynamic properties. The relation is
Newtons second law, F=ma. Inertial force is scaled by a mass coefficient on acceleration. The preponderance among dynamic descriptors of coefficients reflects the
role in dynamic descriptions of kinematic variables.

4.3 Kinematics of Tibiofemoral Joints


4.3.1 Range of Motion
The range of motion can be measured in any joint and in any plane. Gross measurements can be made by goniometry, but more specific measurements must be
made with more precise methods such as electrogoniometry. roentgenography, or
photographic techniques using skeletal pins.
In the tibiofemoral joint the range of motion is by far the greatest in the sagittal plane, where the range from full extension to full flexion of the knee is 0 to
approximately 140 degrees.
In the transverse plane the range of motion in the tibiofemoral joint increases
from full extension of the knee up to 90 degrees of flexion. In full extension almost
no motion in this plane is possible because of the interlocking of the femoral and
tibial condyles, which takes place mainly because the medial femoral condyle is
longer than the lateral femoral condyle. At 90 degrees of flexion, external rotation
of the knee ranges from 0 to approximately 30 degrees. Beyond 90 degrees of knee
flexion, the range of motion in the transverse plane decreases, primarily because of
the restricting function of the soft tissues.
A similar pattern is found in the frontal plane. In a fully extended knee almost
no abduction or adduction is possible. When the knee is flexed up to 30 degrees,
motion in this plane increases, but even at its maximum is only a few degrees in

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

either passive abduction or passive adduction. Beyond 30 degrees of flexion, motion


in this plane decreases, again because of the restricting function of the soft tissues.
The range of joint motion needed for performing various physical activities can
be determined from kinetic analysis. A full range of knee motion is needed for performing the more vigorous activities of daily life in a normal manner. Any restriction
of knee motion will be compensated for by increased motion in other joints.

Fig. 4.1 Range of motion of the tibiofemoral joint in the sagittal plane during level walking one
gait cycle. Shaded area indicates variation among 60 subjects (age range 20 years to 65 years).

The range of motion of the tibiofemoral joint in the sagittal plane during level
walking was measured with an electrogoniometer by Murray et al. (1964) as shown
in Figure ??. During the entire gait cycle the knee was never fully extended. Nearly
full extension (5 degrees of flexion) was noted both at the beginning of the stance
phase at heel strike, and at the end of the stance phase just before toe off. Maximum
flexion (75 degrees) was observed during the middle of swing phase.
The range of motion of the tibiofemoral joint in the transverse plane during walking was measured by several investigators. Using a photographic technique with
skeletal pins through the femur and tibia, Levens et al. (1948) found that the total rotation of the tibia with respect to the femur ranged from 4.1 degrees to 13.3
degrees in 12 subjects, with a mean of 8.6 degrees. A slightly higher amount of
rotation was found by Kettelkamp et al. (1970), who used an electrogoniometer to
measure rotation in 22 subjects. In both studies external rotation occurred during
knee extension in the stance phase and reached a peak value at the end of the swing

4.3 Kinematics of Tibiofemoral Joints

67

phase just before heel strike, internal rotation occurred during flexion in the swing
phase.
Motion in the frontal plane during walking was also measured with an electrogoniometer in 22 subjects (Kettelkamp et. al., 1970). In almost all subject maximum
abduction of the tibia was observed during adduction was found as the knee was
flexed during the swing phase. The total amount of abduction and adduction averaged 11 degrees.
The range of motion of the tibiofemoral joint in the sagittal plane was measured
during several common activities (Kettelkamp et al., 1970; Laubenthal et al., 1972).
Maximal knee flexion occurred during lifting.
Table 4.3 Range of Tibiomemoral Joint Motion in the Sagital Plane during Common Activities
Activity

Range of Motion from Knee Extension to Knee


Flexion (degrees)

Walking
Climbing stairs
Descending stairs
Sitting down
Tying a shoe
Lifting an object

0-67*
0- 83+
0- 90
0- 93
0- 106
0- 117

* Data from Kettelkamp et al., 1970. Mean for 22 subjects. A slight difference was found
between right and left knees (mean for right knee 68.1; mean for left knee 66.7 degrees). + These
and subsequent data from Laubenthal et al., 1972. Mean for 30 subjects.

Table 4.4 Amount of Knee Flexion During Stance Phase of Walking and Running
Activity

Range in Amount of knee Flexion during Stance


phase (degrees)

Walking
Slow
Free
Fast
Running

0- 6
6- 12
12- 18
18-30

SOURCE: Data from Perry et al., 1977. Range for seven subjects.

The values obtained for these activities indicate that full extension and at least
117 degrees of flexion are necessary for carrying out the activities of daily life in
a normal manner. In one of these studies (Kettelkamp et al., 1970) a significant
relationship was noted between the length of the lower leg and range of knee motion.
The longer the leg was, the greater the range of motion.
Perry et al. (1977) noted that an increase in the speed of motion required an
increased range of motion in the tibiofemoral joint. From walking slowly to running,
progressively greater knee flexion was needed during the stance phase.

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

4.3.2 Surface Joint Motion


Surface joint motion, the motion between the articulating surfaces of a joint, can
be described for any joint in the sagittal and frontal planes, but not the transverse
plane. The method used is called the instant center technique. This technique allows
a description of the relative uniplanar motion of two adjacent segments of a body
and the direction of displacement of the contact points between these segments.
Usually these segments are called links. As one link rotates about the other, there
exists at an instant in time a point that does not move, that is, a point that has zero
velocity. This point constitutes an instantaneous center of motion, or instant center.
The instant center for motion of planar joint can be obtained by the method of
Reuleaux (1876). According to this method, the instant center is found by identifying the displacement of two points on a link as the link moves from one position to
another. The points on the link in its original position and in its displaced position
are designated on a graph, and lines are drawn connecting the two sets of points.
The perpendicular bisectors of these two lines are then drawn. The intersection of
the perpendicular bisectors locates the instant center.
Clinically, a pathway of the instant center for a joint can be determined by taking successive roentgenograms of the joint in different positions (usually 10 degrees apart) throughout the range of motion in one plane and applying the Reuleaux
method for locating the instant center for each interval of motion.
When the instant center pathway has been determined for joint motion in one
plane, the surface joint motion can be described. For each interval of motion the
contact point between the joint surfaces is located on the roentgenograms used for
the instant center analysis, and a line is drawn from the instant center to the contact
point. A second line drawn at right angles to this line will indicate direction of
displacement of the contact points. The direction of displacement of the contact
points throughout the range of motion describes the surface motion in the joint. In
a normal joint the line indicating the direction of displacement is tangential to the
load bearing surface, demonstrating that the femur is sliding on the tibial condyles.
If the instant center were to be found on the surface, the joint would have a rolling
motion and there would be no sliding friction.
Since the instant center technique allows a description of motion in one plane
only, it is not useful for describing the surface joint motion if more than 15 degrees
of motion takes place in any plane other than the one being measured.
In the knee, surface joint motion occurs between the tibial and femoral condyles
and between the femoral condyles and the patella. Between the tibial and femoral
condyles, surface motion occurs in all three planes simultaneously, but is minimal
in the transverse and frontal planes. Between the femoral condyles and the patella,
surface motion occurs in two planes simultaneously: the frontal and transverse.
An example will illustrate how the instant center technique is used to describe
the surface motion of the tibiofemoral joint in the sagittal plane. To determine the
pathway of the instant center of this joint during flexion, a lateral roentgenogram is
taken of the knee in full extension, and successive films are taken at each 10 degrees
of increased flexion. Care is taken to keep the tibia parallel to the x-ray table and to

4.3 Kinematics of Tibiofemoral Joints

69

disallow rotation about the femur. In the case of patient with limited knee flexion or
extension, the knee is flexed or extended only as far as the patient can tolerate.
Two points on the femur that are easily identified on all roentgenograms are selected and designated on each roentgenogram. The films are then compared in pairs,
with the images of the tibiae superimposed on each other. Roentgenograms with
marked differences in tibial alignment are not utilized. Lines are drawn between the
points on the femur in the two positions, and the perpendicular bisectors of these
lines are then drawn. The point at which these perpendicular bisectors intersect is
the instant center of the tibiofemoral joint for each 10 degrees of motion. The instant center pathway through the entire range of knee flexion-extension can then
be plotted. In a normal knee the instant center pathway for the tibiofemoral joint is
semicircular.

Fig. 4.2 Locating the instant center. A. Two easily identifiable points on the femur are designated on a roentgenogram of a knee flexed 80 degrees. B. This roentgenogram is compared with a
roentgenogram of the knee flexed 90 degrees, on which the same two points have been indicated.
The images of the tibiae are superimposed, and lines are drawn connecting each set of points. The
perpendicular bisectors of these two lines are then drawn. The point at which these perpendicular
bisectors intersect locates the instant center of the tibiofemoral point for the motion between 80
and 90 degrees of flexion.

v
In a deranged knee it may happen that no external rotation of the tibia occurs
during extension. Because of the altered surface motion, the tibiofemoral joint will
be abnormally compressed if the knee is forced into extension, and the joint surfaces
may be damaged.

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Fig. 4.3 Semicircular instant center pathway for the tibiofemoral joint in a 19-year-old man with
a normal knee.

Describing the surface motion of the patellofemoral joint with the instant center
technique demonstrates a sliding motion. From extension to full flexion of the knee
the patella slides caudally approximately 7 cm on the femoral condyles. From full
extension to 90 degrees of flexion both the medial and lateral facets of the femur
articulate with the patella. Beyond 90 degrees of flexion the patella rotates externally, and only the medial femoral facet articulates with the patella. At full flexion
the patella sinks into the intercondylar groove (Goodfellow et al. 1976).

4.3 Kinematics of Tibiofemoral Joints

71

Fig. 4.4 In a normal knee a line drawn from the instant center of the tibiofemoral joint to the
tibiofemoral contact point (line A) forms a right angle with a line tangential to the tibial surface
(line B). The arrow indicates the direction of displacement of the contact points. Line B is tangential to the tibial surface, indicating that the femur slides on the tibial condyles during the measured
interval of motion.

1. The ground reaction force (W) has known magnitude (equal to body weight),
sense, line of application, and point of application (point of contact between the
foot and the ground).
2. The patellar tendon force (P) has known sense (away from the knee joint), line of
application (along the patellar tendon), and point of application (point of insertion of the patellar tendon on the tibial tuberosity), but an unknown magnitude.
3. The joint reaction force (J) has known point of application on the surface of
the tibia (the contact point of the joint surfaces between the tibial and femoral

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Fig. 4.5 Abnormal instant center pathway for a 35-year-old-man with a bucket handle derangement. The instant center jumps at full extension of the knee. (Adopted from Frankel et. al., 1971)

condyles, estimated from a roentgenogram of the joint in the proper loading configuration), but an unknown magnitude, sense, and line of application.
These three forces are designated on the free body diagram. Because the lower limb
is in equilibrium, the lines of application for all three forces will intersect at one
point. Since the lines of application for two forces (forces W and P) are known,
the line of application for the third force (force J) can be determined. The lines of
application for forces W and P are extended until they intersect. The line of application for force J can then be drawn from its point of application on the tibial surface
through the intersection point. Now that the line of application for force J has been
determined, it is possible to construct a triangle of forces. First, a vector representing force W is drawn. Next, force P is drawn from the head of vector W. The line

4.3 Kinematics of Tibiofemoral Joints

73

Fig. 4.6 Surface motion in two tibiofemoral joints with displaced instant centers. In both joints the
line at right angles to the line between the instant center and the tibiofemoral contact point indicates
the direction of displacement of the contact points. A. The small arrow indicates that further flexion
the tibiofemoral joint will be distracted. B. The small arrow indicates that with further flexion the
joint will be compressed.

of application and sense of force P can be indicated, but its length cannot be determined because the magnitude is unknown. Since the lower limb is in equilibrium,
however, it is known that when force J is added the triangle, must close (that is, the
head of force P must touch the origin of force J). The line of application of force J is
then drawn from the origin of vector W. The point at which force J intersects force
P is the head of vector P and the origin of vector J. The magnitudes of force P and J
can bow be scaled from the drawing. In this case the patellar tendon force (P) is 3.2
times body weight, and the joint reaction force (J) is 4.1 times body weight. It can
be seen that the main muscle force has a much greater influence on the magnitude
of the joint reaction force than does the ground reaction force produced by body
weight. It should be noted that in this example only the minimum magnitude of the
joint reaction force has been calculated. If other muscle forces are considered, such
as the force produced by contraction of the hamstrings in stabilizing the knee, the
joint reaction force will increase.

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Fig. 4.7 Screw-home mechanism of the tibiofemoral joint. During knee extension the tibia rotates
externally. This motion is reversed as the knee is flexed. A. Oblique view of the femur and tibia.
Shaded area indicates the tibial plateau. B. Top view showing the position of the tibial plateau on
the femoral condyles in knee flexion and extension. The lightly shaded area indicates the position
of the plateau in knee flexion; the darkly shaded area indicates its position during knee extension.
(Adapted from Helfet, 1974)

4.4 Kinetics of Tibiofemoral Joints


Although it is necessary to know how to estimate the magnitude of the forces imposed on a joint in a static situation, most of our activities are of a dynamic rather
than a static nature. To analyze the force acting on a joint during motion, a technique
for solving dynamic problems must be used.
As in static analysis, the main forces considered in dynamic analysis are those
produced by muscles, body weight, connective tissues, and externally applied loads.
Friction forces, which are negligible in a normal joint, are not considered. In a dynamic analysis, two factors in addition to those in static analysis must be taken into
account: (1) the acceleration of the body part under consideration, and (2) the mass
moment of inertial of the body part. (The mass moment of inertial is the unit used
to express the amount of torque needed to accelerate a body and is dependent on the
shape of the body.)
The steps for calculating the minimum magnitudes of the forces acting on a joint
at a particular instant in time during a dynamic activity are as follows:
1. The anatomical structures involved in the production of force are identified.
2. The angular acceleration of the moving body part is determined.
3. The mass moment of inertia of the moving body part is determined.

4.4 Kinetics of Tibiofemoral Joints

75

Fig. 4.8 Heliet test A. In a normal knee flexed 90 degrees the tibial tuberosity lines up with the
medial half of the patella. B. When the knee is fully extended the tibial tuberosity lines up with the
lateral half of the patella

4. The torque acting about the joint is calculated.


5. The magnitude of the main muscle force accelerating the body part is calculated.
6. The magnitude of the joint reaction force at a particular instant in time is calculated using static analysis.
In the first step, the structures of the body involved in producing forces on the
joint are identified. These are the moving body part and the main muscle in that body
part that are involved in the production of the motion. In joints of the extremities acceleration of the body part involves a change in angle. To determine the angular
acceleration of the body part, the entire movement of the body part is recorded photographically. Recording can be done with a stroboscopic light and movie camera, a
television scanning system, or other methods. From the films the maximal angular
acceleration for a particular motion is calculated (Frankel and Burstein, 1970). Next,
the mass moments of inertia for the moving body part are determined. Anthropometric data on the body part can be used for this determination. Since calculating
these data is complicated procedure, however, tables are commonly used (Drills et
al., 1964). The torque about the joint can bow be calculated using Newtons second

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Fig. 4.9 After the instant center (IC) is determined for the patellofemoral joint for the motion from
75 to 90 degrees of knee flexion, a line is drawn from the instant center to the contact point (CP)
between the patella and the femoral condyle. This line forms a right angle with a line tangential to
the surface of the patella, indicating sliding.

law of motion, which states that when motion is angular, the torque is a product of
the mass moment of inertia of the body part and the angular acceleration of that part:
T = I
, Where T is the torque expressed in Newton meters
I is the mass moment of inertia expressed in Newton meters times seconds squared
(Nm sec2) is the angular acceleration expressed in radiance per second squared
(r/sec2).
Not only is the torque a product of the mass moment of inertia and the angular
acceleration of the body part, but it is also a product of the main muscle force accelerating the body part and the perpendicular distance of the force from the instant

4.4 Kinetics of Tibiofemoral Joints

77

Fig. 4.10 On the free body diagram of the lower limb the lines of application for forces W and
P are extended until they intersects (intersection point). The line of application for force J is then
determined by connecting its point of application (tibiofemoral contact point) with the intersection
point for forces W and P

center of the joint (lever arm). Thus,


T = Fd,
where F is the force expressed in newtons d is the perpendicular distance expressed
in meters. Since T is known and d can be measured on the body part from the line
of application of the force to the instant center of the joint, the equation can be
solved for F. When F has been calculated, the remaining problem can be solved like
a static problem using the simplified free body technique to determine the minimum
magnitude of the joint reaction force acting on the joint at a certain instant in time.
Static analysis can bow be performed to determine the minimum magnitude of
the joint reaction force on the tibiofemoral joint. The main forces on this joint are
identified as the patellar tendon force (P), the gravitational force of the lower leg (T),

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Fig. 4.11 The three main coplanar forces acting on the lower limb are designated on the free body
diagram. Force W is ground reaction force, force P is the patellar tendon force, and force J is the
joint reaction force.

and the joint reaction force (J). The patellar tendon force (P) and the gravitational
force of the lower leg (T) are known vectors. The joint reaction force (J) has an
unknown magnitude, sense, and line of application. The free body technique for
three coplanar forces is used to solve for J, which is found to be only slightly lower
than the patellar tendon force.
As is evident from the calculations, the two main factors that influence the magnitude of the forces on a joint in dynamic situations are the acceleration of the body
part and its mass moment of inertia. An increase in angular acceleration of the body
part will produce a proportional increase in the torque about the joint. Although
in the body the mass moment of inertia is anatomically set, it can be manipulated
eternally. For example, it is increased when a weight boot is applied to the foot during rehabilitative exercises of the extensor muscles of the knee. Normally a joint
reaction force of approximately 50
Dynamic analysis has been used to investigate the peak magnitudes of the joint
reaction force, muscle forces, and ligament forces on the tibiofemoral joint during
walking. Morrison (1970) calculated the magnitude of the joint reaction force transmitted through the tibial plateau in men and women subjects during level walking.
He simultaneously recorded muscle activity with electromyography to determine
which muscles produced the peak magnitudes of this force on the tibial plateau during various stages of the gait cycle.
Just after heel strike the joint reaction force ranged from two to three times body
weight and was associated with contraction of the hamstring muscles, which have

4.4 Kinetics of Tibiofemoral Joints

79

Fig. 4.12 A triangle of force is constructed. First vector W is drawn. Next force P is drawn from
the head of vector W. Then, to close the triangle, force J is drawn from the origin of vector W. The
point at which forces P and J intersects defines the length of these vectors. Now that the length of
all three vectors is known, the magnitudes of force P and J can be scaled from force W, which is
equal to body weight. Force P is 3.2 times body weight, and force J is 4.1 times body weight.

a decelerating and stabilizing effect on the knee. During knee flexion in the beginning of the stance phase the joint reaction force was approximately two times body
weight and was associated with contraction of the quadriceps muscle, which acts
to prevent buckling of the knee. The peak joint reaction force occurred during the
late stance phase just before toe off. This force ranged from two to four times body
weight, varying among the individuals tested, and was associated with contraction
of the gastrocnemius muscle. In the late swing phase contraction of the hamstring
muscle resulted in a joint reaction force approximately equal to body weight. No significant difference was found between the joint reaction force magnitudes for men
and women when the values were normalized by dividing them by body weight.
During the gait cycle the joint reaction force shifted from the lateral to the medial
tibial plateau. In the stance phase, when the peak force occurred, it was sustained
mainly by the medial plateau; in the swing phase, when the force was minimal, it
was primarily sustained by the lateral plateau. The contact area of the medial tibial
plateau is approximately 50
In a normal knee, joint reaction forces are sustained by the menisci as well as by
the joint cartilage. The function of the menisci was investigated by Seedhom et al.
(1974), who examined the distribution of stresses in knees of human autopsy subjects with and without menisci. Their results suggest that in load-bearing situations
the magnitude of the stresses on the tibiofemoral joint when the menisci have been
removed may be a much as three times higher than when these structures are intact.

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Fig. 4.13 Joint reaction force in terms of body weight transmitted through the tibial plateau during
walking, one gait cycle (12 subjects). The muscle force producing the peak magnitudes of this
force are also designated. (Adopted from Morrison 1970)

In a normal knee stresses are distributed over a wide area of the tibial plateau.
If the menisci are removed, the stresses are no longer distributed over such a wide
area, but are limited to a contact area in the center of the plateau. Thus, not only does
removal of the menisci increase the magnitude of the stresses on the cartilage at the
center of the tibial plateau, but it also diminishes the size and changes the location of
the contact area. Over the longterm the high stresses placed on this smaller contact
area may be harmful to the exposed cartilage, which is usually soft and fibrillated in
the area.
The forces sustained by the ligaments in the tibiofemoral joint are lower than
those acting on the tibial plateau and are mainly tensile. Morrison (1970) calculated
the force on the knee ligaments during walking. The posterior cruciate ligament
sustained the highest forces, about one-half body weight; peak force occurred just
after heel strike and in the later part of the stance phase.

4.5 Functions of Patella


The patella provides two important biomechanical functions in the knee: it aids
knee extension by lengthening the lever arm of the quadriceps muscle throughout
the entire range of motion, and it allows a better distribution of compressive stresses

4.5 Functions of Patella

81

Fig. 4.14 Stress distribution


in a normal knee and in knee
with the menisci removed.
Removal of the menisci increases the magnitude of
stresses on the cartilage of
the tibial plateau and changes
the size and location of the
tibiofemoral contact area.
With the menisci intact the
contact area encompasses
nearly the entire surface of
the tibial plateau. With the
menisci removed the contact
area is limited to the center of
the tibial plateau.

on the femur by increasing the area of contact between the patellar tendon and the
femur.
The contribution of the patella to the length of the quadriceps muscle lever arm
changes from full flexion to full extension of the knee (Smidt, 19973; Lindahl and
Movin, 1967). At full flexion, when the patella is in the intercondylar groove, it
produces little anterior displacement of the quadriceps tendon, and it contributes the
least to the length of the quadriceps muscle lever arm (about 10
With further knee extension the length of the quadriceps lever arm decreases
slightly. With this decrease in the length of its lever arm during the last 45 degrees
of extension, the quadriceps muscle must exert increased force for the torque about
the knee to remain the same. In an vitro study of normal knees Lieb and Perry
(1968) showed that the quadriceps muscle force required to extend the knee the last
15 degrees increased by approximately 60
In a patellectomized knee the patellar tendon lies closer to the instant center of
the tibiofemoral joint than in a normal knee. Acting with a shorter lever arm, the
quadriceps muscle must produce even more force than is normally required for a
certain torque about the knee to be maintained during the last 45 degrees of extension. Full, active extension of a patellectomized knee may require as much as 30%
more quadriceps force than is normally required ( Kaufer, 1971). This increased demand on the quadriceps muscle may be beyond the capacity of that muscle in some
patients, particularly those with intraarticular disease or advanced age, as shown in
Figure 4.15.

4.5.1 Kinetics of the Patellofemoral Joints


During most dynamic activities both contraction of the quadriceps muscle and body
weight exert forces on the patellofemoral joint. In this situation the amount of knee
flexion directly influences the magnitude of the quadriceps muscle force, which af-

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

Fig. 4.15 Quadriceps muscle


force required during knee
motion from 90 degrees of
flexion to full extension.

fects the magnitude of the joint reaction force. The greater the knee flexion is, the
higher the magnitude of the quadriceps muscle force and, consequently, the higher
the magnitude of the resultant patellofemoraljoint reaction force.
During level walking, when the amount of knee flexion was relatively small,
a low value was calculated for the patellofemoral joint reaction force (Reilly and
Martens, 1972).

4.6 Principles of Human Movement


Basic phylosophical question is that whether the anatomical structures of human is
adapted to human movement or the vice verse. Human movement is the primary
function of the existance of the human beings. However, the evidences in the literature are not yet sufficient to show that movement is defining the natomical structures.
In this text we will assume that the anatomical structures determine the a particular
pattern of human movement through evolution. Other patterns of movement may be
learned afresh by successive generations of human, by trial and erro. Evolution by
natural selection, and learning by trial and error, both tend to make the human and
their movements optimized. This chapter explains some of the optimization principles purely from the newtonian mechanics.
Human movement depends on many factors. Biomechanics literature considers
nine principles that can be applied to human movement for optimization. The nine
principles constitute the minimum number or core principles that can be applied to
all human movements and because they provide a simple paradigm or structure to
apply biomechanical knowledge (Hudson, 1995).

4.6 Principles of Human Movement

83

The principles are organized into ones dealing primarily with the creation of
movement (process) and ones dealing with the outcome of various projectiles (product).
These principles are based primarily on work of several biomechanists (Norman,
1975; Hudson, 1995) who have developed generic biomechanical principles for all
human movements. Many biomechanics books have proposed general principles
for all movements (Meinel & Schnabel, 1998); various categories of human movements like throwing, catching, and running (e.g., Broer & Zernicke, 1979; Dyson,
1986; Kreighbaum & Barthels, 1996; Luttgens & Wells, 1982); or specific movements (e.g., Bunn, 1972; Groves & Camaione, 1975). Some biomechanists believe
that general principles applicable to all sports are difficult to identify and have limited practical application due to unique goals and environmental contexts of skills
(Hochmuch & Marhold, 1978). This book is based on the opposite philosophy.

4.6.1 Range of motion Principle


Movements can accurately be described as combination of joint angular motions.
The joint angular motion can be represented on a continuum scale from negligible
to 100
Principle of range of motion states that less range of motion is most-efective for
low-effort (forces and speed) and high-accuracy movements, while greater range of
motion favours maximum efforts.
Following three examples can be cited:
1. In golf putting, greater accuracy is needed, therefore limiting the range of motion
by using very few segments and limiting their motion to only what is absolutely
necessary to move the ball to the hole.
2. The javelin thrower uses a long running approach and total body action to use
considerable range of motion to maximize the speed of javelin release.
3. A person playing darts stabilizes most of the joints of the body with isometric
muscle actions and limits the dart throw to a small range of motions focussed on
the elbow and wrist. Elbow rotation is more accurate than wrist rotation, therefore
the dart player uses more range of motion at the elbow than that of at the wrist.

4.6.2 Force-motion principle


In order to modify the human movement, the force from muscles can be modified.
The Force-Motion Principle suggests that muscle groups that primarily contribute
to the motion of interest should be modified in order to modify the movement. In
other words, the principle states that it takes unbalanced forces (and the subsequent
torques they induce) to create or modify motion.

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

An example:
Suppose a coach is interested in helping a young gymnast improve her splits
position in a cartwheel or other arm support stunt (Figure 3.17). The gymnast can
easily overcome the passive muscular tension in the hip adductors to create a split
in a seated position, but the downward force creating this static position is large
(weight of the upper body) compared to the weight of the leg that assists the split in
the inverted body position. The Force-Motion Principle suggests that the balance of
forces at the hips must be downward to create the split in the dynamic action of the
stunt. In other words, the forces of gravity and hip abductors must create a torque
equal to the upward torque created by the passive tension in the hip adductors. If
the gymnast is having trouble with this stunt, the two biome-chanical solutions that
could be considered are stretching the hip adductors (to decrease passive muscle
tension resistance) and increase the muscular strength or activation of the hip abductors.

4.6.3 Force-Time Principle


In order to create or modyfy movements, the time available for force application
is as important as the size of the force itself. This is called Force-Time principle.
Example: Movements like catching a ball or landing from a long jump employ primarily eccentric muscle actions to gradually slow down a mass over a time period.
Positioning the body to intercept the object early allows the mover to maximize the
time the object can be slowed.

4.6.4 Optimal Projection Principle


A range of angles that results in best performance in most sports and human movements involving projectiles. The Optimal Projection Principle refers to the angle(s)
that an object is projected to achieve a particular goal. In most instances, a twodimensional point-mass model of a projectile is used to describe the compromise
between the height of release and the vertical and horizontal components of release
velocity. If a ball was kicked and then landed at the same height, and the air resistance was negligible, the optimal angle of projection for producing maximum
horizontal displacement would be 45. Forty-five degrees above the horizontal is the
perfect mix of horizontal and vertical velocity to maximize horizontal displacement.
Angles above 45 create shorter ranges because the extra flight time from larger vertical velocity cannot overcome the loss in horizontal velocity. Angles smaller than
45 cause loss of flight time (lower vertical velocity) that cannot be overcome by the
larger horizontal velocity. Try the activity below to explore optimal angles of projection. Goals of projections can be different in different human movement or sports.
The mechanical objectives of projectiles are displacement, speed, and a combina-

4.6 Principles of Human Movement

85

tion of displacement and speed. The goal of an archer is accuracy in displacing an


arrow to the target. The basketball shooter strives for the right mix of ball speed and
displacement to score. A soccer goalie punting the ball out of trouble in his end of
the field focuses on ball speed rather than kicking the ball to a particular location.
When projectile displacement or accuracy is the most important factor, the range
of optimal angles of projection is small. In tennis, for example, Brody (1987) has
shown that the vertical angle of projection (angular window for a serve going in)
depends on many factors but is usually less than 4. The goal of a tennis serve is the
right combination of displacement and ball speed, but traditionally the sport and its
statistics have emphasized the importance of consistency (accuracy) so as to keep
the opponent guessing. In a tennis serve the height of projection above the target,
the net barrier, the spin on the ball, the objective of serving deep into the service
box, and other factors favor angles of projection at or above the horizontal (Elliott,
1983). Elite servers can hit high-speed serves 3 below the horizontal, but the optimal
serving angle for the majority of players is between 0 and 15 above the horizontal
(Elliott, 1983; Owens & Lee, 1969).

4.6.5 Coordination Continuum Principle


Coordination is commonly defined as the sequence and timing of body actions used
in a movement. Kinematic coordination of movements can be pictured as a continuum ranging from simultaneous body actions to sequential actions. The Coordination Continuum Principle suggests that movements requiring the generation of
high forces tend to utilize simultaneous segmental movements, while lower-force
and high-speed movements are more effective with more sequential movement coordination. A person lifting a heavy box simultaneously extends the hips, knees,
and ankles. In overarm throwing, people usually use a more sequential action of the
whole kinematic chain, beginning with the legs, followed by trunk and arm motions.
Because coordination falls on a continuum and the speed and forces of movement
vary widely, it is not always easy to determine what coordination pattern is best.
In vertical jumping, resistance is moderate and the objective is to maximize height
of takeoff and vertical velocity. While a vertical jump looks like a simultaneous
movement, biomechanical studies show that the kinematics and kinetics of different
jumpers have simultaneous and sequential characteristics (Aragon-Vargas & Gross,
1997a; Bobbert & van Ingen Schenau, 1988; Hudson, 1986). Kinesiology professionals need to remember that coordination is not an either/or situation in many
activities. Until there is more research determining the most effective technique,
there will be quite a bit of art to the coaching of movements not at the extremes of
the continuum. The motor development of high-speed throwing and striking skills
tends to begin with restricted degrees of freedom and simultaneous actions. Children throwing, striking, or kicking tend to make initial attempts with simultaneous actions of only a few joints. Skill develops with the use of more segments and
greater sequential action. In high-speed throwing, for example, the sequential or

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

differential rotation of the pelvis and upper trunk is a late-developing milestone


of high-skill throwing (Roberton & Halverson, 1984). Suppose a junior high volleyball coach is working with a tall athlete on spiking. The potential attacker lacks a
strong overarm pattern and cannot get much speed on the ball. The kinematics of the
preparatory action lacks intensity, stretch, and timing. At impact the players elbow
and upper arm are well forward of her shoulder. The coach suspects that her overarm throwing pattern is still immature and must be developed before skilled spiking
is possible. This coach has integrated biomechanical and motor development information to determine the best course of action to help this player improve. The lack
of ball speed (kinematics), and muscle stretch-shortening cycles within a sequential
coordination are biomechanical factors missing in this athlete.

4.6.6 Principle of Inertia


Inertia, the resistance to a change in motion, is mass for linear motion, and moment
of inertia in rotary motion. This principle indicates that inorder to rapidly accelerate,
the mass needs to be reduced. An example is to use heavier shoes for training and
lighter shoes for competition. In movements where stability is desired over mobility,
mass needs to be increased. Adding mass to a tennis ball will make for faster and
longer shots for the same velocity at impact.

4.6.7 Segmental Interaction Principle


Human movement can be performed in a wide variety of ways because of the many
kinematic degrees of freedom our linked segments provide. The coordination of
these kinematic chains ranges along a continuum from simultaneous to sequential. Kinetics provides several ways in which to examine the potential causes of
these coordination patterns. The Segmental Interaction Principle says that forces
acting between the segments of a body can transfer energy between segments. The
biomechanics literature has referred to this phenomenon in several ways (Putnam,
1993). The contribution of body segments to movement has been called coordination of temporal impulses (Hochmuth & Marhold, 1978), the kinetic link principle
(Kreighbaum & Bar-thels, 1996), summation of speed (Bunn, 1972), summation
or continuity of joint torques (Norman, 1975), the sequential or proximal-to-distal
sequencing of movement (Marshall & Elliott, 2000), and the transfer of energy or
transfer of momentum (Lees & Barton, 1996; Miller, 1980). The many names for
this phenomenon and the three ways to document kinetics are a good indication of
the difficulty of the problem. Most electromyographic (EMG) research has shown
that in sequential movements muscles are activated in short bursts that are timed to
take advantage of the forces and geometry between adjacent segments (Feldman et
al., 1998; Roberts, 1991). This coordination of muscular kinetics to take advantage

4.6 Principles of Human Movement

87

of passive dynamics or motion-dependent forces (gravitational, inertial forces)


has been observed in the swing limb during walking (Mena, Mansour, & Simon,
1981), running (Phillips, Roberts, & Huang, 1983), kicking (Roberts, 1991), throwing (Feltner, 1989; Hirashima, Kadota, Sakurai, Kudo, & Ohtsuki, 2002), and limb
motions toward targets (Galloway & Koshland, 2002) and limb adjustments to unexpected obstacles (Eng, Winter, & Patla, 1997).

Fig. 4.16 Principles of Segmental Integration

Some biomechanists have theorized that the segmental interaction that drives the
sequential strategy is a transfer of energy from the proximal segment to the distal
segment. This theory originated from observations of the close association between
the negative acceleration of the proximal segment (see the activity on Segmental
Interaction below) with the positive acceleration of the distal segment (Plagenhoef,
1971; Roberts, 1991). This mechanism is logically appealing because the energy of
large muscle groups can be transferred distally and is consistent with the large forces
and accelerations of small segments late in baseball pitching (Feltner & Dapena,
1986; Fleisig, Andrews, Dillman, & Escamilla, 1995; Roberts, 1991). Figure 6.22
illustrates a schematic of throwing where the negative angular acceleration of the
arm (aA) creates a backward elbow joint force (FE) that accelerates the forearm
(aFA). This view of the Segment Interaction Principle states that slowing the larger
proximal segment will transfer energy to the distal segment. It is clear that this

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

movement strategy is highly effective in creating high-speed movements of distal


segments, but the exact mechanism of the segmental interaction principle is not
clear.

4.6.8 Principle of Balance


Balance is a persons ability to control their body position relative to some base of
support (Figure 7.13). This ability is needed in both static equilibrium conditions
(e.g., handstand on a balance beam) and during dynamic movement (e.g., basketball
playing). The Principle of Balance is based on the mechanical tradeoff between
stability and mobility. Balance, more accurately posture, depends on the right mix of
stability and mobility for the movement of interest. This is not always an easy task,
because stability and mobility are inversely related. Highly stable postures allow a
person to resist changes in position, while the initiation of movement (mobility) is
facilitated by the adoption of a less stable posture. The biomechanical factors that
can be changed to modify stability/mobility are the base of support, and the position
and motion of the center of gravity relative to the base of support. The base of
support is the two-dimensional area formed by the supporting segments or areas of
the body. A large base of support provides greater stability because there is greater
area over which to keep the body-weight. Much of the difficulty in many gymnastic
balancing skills (e.g., handstand or scale) comes from the small base of support on
which to center bodyweight.

Fig. 4.17 Principle of balance

4.6 Principles of Human Movement

89

The posture of the body in stance or during motion determines the position of
the center of gravity relative to the base of support. Since gravity is the major external force our body moves against, the horizontal and vertical positions of the
center of gravity relative to the base of support are crucial in determining the stability/mobility of that posture. The horizontal distance from the edge of the base of
support to the center of gravity (line of action of gravity) determines how far the
weight must be shifted to destabilize a person. If the line of gravity falls outside
the base of support, the gravitational torque tends to tip the body over the edge of
the base of support. The vertical distance or height of the center of gravity affects
the geometric stability of the body. When the position of the center of gravity is
higher, it is easier to move beyond the base of support than in postures with a lower
center of gravity. Positioning the line of gravity outside the base of support can facilitate the rotation of the body by the force of gravity. The Principle of Balance can
be envisioned as a continuum between high stability and high mobility. The most
appropriate technique for controlling your body depends on where the goal of the
movement falls on the stability-mobility continuum.

4.6.9 Principle of Spin


he Principle of Spin is related to using the spin on a projectile to obtain an advantageous trajectory or bounce. The prinicple can be used in Kinesiology to understand the most successful techniques in many activities. For example, In a basketball
game, spinning the ball is not done to affect air resistance, or to make air resistance
cause the balls path to curve. The speed of basketballs is too slow for that to happen.
Once the basketball leaves the shooters hand, it travels in parabolic path. The spin
on the ball is used to help it to bounce into the net when it hits the rim. The bottom
of a basketball with backspin is moving faster than the center of the ball because
the ball is rotating. This increases the friction force between the ball and the rim,
decreasing the horizontal velocity of the ball, which makes the ball bounce higher.
There is one more advantage of imparting spin to a projectile such as human
body, related to the law of conservation of angular momentum. Any object in angular motion without external-acting torques (like a projectile) will conserve angular
momentum. This inertia in a rotating object can be used to keep the projectile in a
certain orientation. Divers and gymnasts can overcome this inertia and move body
parts relative to an axis of rotation using internal muscle forces. In these situations
athlete can transfer angular momentum from one axis to another (e.g., add a twist in
the middle of somersaults) by asymmetric motions of body parts. Coaches of these
sports need to be familiar with this interesting application of the spin principle (see
Yeadon, 1991, 1997).

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4 Skeletal Biomechanics: Measurements and Analysis

References
In view of the parallel print and (chapter-wise) online publication of your book
at www.springerlink.com it has been decided that as a genreral rule references
should be sorted chapter-wise and placed at the end of the individual chapters. However, upon agreement with your contact at Springer you may list your references
in a single seperate chapter at the end of your book. Deactivate the class option
sectrefs and the thebibliography environment will be put out as a chapter
of its own.
References may be cited in the text either by number (preferred) or by author/year.1 The reference list should ideally be sorted in alphabetical order even
if reference numbers are used for the their citation in the text. If there are several
works by the same author, the following order should be used:
1. all works by the author alone, ordered chronologically by year of publication
2. all works by the author with a coauthor, ordered alphabetically by coauthor
3. all works by the author with several coauthors, ordered chronologically by year
of publication.
The styling of references2 depends on the subject of your book:
The two recommended styles for references in books on mathematical, physical,
statistical and computer sciences are depicted in [7, 8, 9, 10, 11] and [12, 13,
14, 15, 16].
Examples of the most commonly used reference style in books on Psychology,
Social Sciences are [17, 18, 19, 20, 21].
Examples for references in books on Humanities, Linguistics, Philosophy are [22,
23, 24, 25, 26].
Examples of the basic Springer style used in publications on a wide range of
subjects such as Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Geosciences, Life
Sciences, Medicine, Biomedicine are [27, 28, 30, 29, 31].
1. Hay, J.G. The Biomechanics of Sports Techniques. Third edition. Prentice Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. ISBN 0-13-077164-3
2. Kreighbaum, E. & K.M. Barthels, Biomechanics. A qualitative approach for studying human
movement. Third Edition. MacMillan, New York. ISBN 0-02-366480-0
3. Winter, D.A. Biomechanics and motor control of human movement. Second Edition. WileyInterscience, New York. ISBN 0-471-50908-6
4. M. Whittle: Gait analysis. An introduction. Butterworth-Heinemann,1991
5. M. Nordin and V. H. Frankel, Lea & Febiger, Basic Biomechnaics of the Musculoskeletal
System 1989
6. V. C. Mow and W. C. Wilson, Raven Press, Basic Orthopaedic Biomechanics, 1991
7. Broy, M.: Software engineering from auxiliary to key technologies. In: Broy, M., Dener,
E. (eds.) Software Pioneers, pp. 10-13. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)
1 Make sure that all references from the list are cited in the text. Those not cited should be moved
to a separate Further Reading section or chapter.
2 Always use the standard abbreviation of a journals name according to the ISSN List of Title Word
Abbreviations, see http://www.issn.org/en/node/344