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Models incorporating pin joints are suitable for simulating performance but unsuitable for simulating internal loading

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journal contribution
posted on 29.06.2012, 12:52 authored by Sam AllenSam Allen, Mark KingMark King, Fred YeadonFred Yeadon
Simulation models of human movement comprising pin-linked segments have a potential weakness for reproducing accurate ground reaction forces during high impact activities. While the human body contains many compliant structures such a model only has compliance in wobbling masses and in the foot–ground interface. In order to determine whether accurate GRFs can be produced by allowing additional compliance in the foot–ground interface, a subject-specific angle-driven computer simulation model of triple jumping with 13 pin-linked segments was developed, with wobbling masses included within the shank, thigh, and trunk segments. The foot–ground interface was represented by spring-dampers at three points on each foot: the toe, ball, and heel. The parameters of the spring-dampers were varied by a genetic algorithm in order to minimise the differences between simulated GRFs, and those measured from the three phases of a triple jump in three conditions: (a) foot spring compression limited to 20 mm; (b) this compression limited to 40 mm; (c) no restrictions. Differences of 47.9%, 15.7%, and 12.4% between simulation and recorded forces were obtained for the 20 mm, 40 mm, and unrestricted conditions, respectively. In the unrestricted condition maximum compressions of between 43 mm and 56 mm were obtained in the three phases and the mass centre position was within 4 mm of the actual position at these times. It is concluded that the unrestricted model is appropriate for simulating performance whereas the accurate calculation of internal forces would require a model that incorporates compliance elsewhere in the link system.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


ALLEN, S.J., KING, M.A. and YEADON, M.R., 2012. Models incorporating pin joints are suitable for simulating performance but unsuitable for simulating internal loading. Journal of Biomechanics, 45 (8), pp. 1430 - 1436.


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