Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have detailed a wearable machine that may higher measure muscle-tendon stress throughout sure actions, resembling strolling or working.
The prototype machine, which has to this point been examined on the Achilles, patellar, and hamstring tendons, represents a possible, non-invasive various to tendon stress measurement, and with further work may discover a place in rehabilitation or orthopedics, in response to the group.
“We think the potential of this new technology is high, both from a basic science standpoint and for clinical applications,” Darryl Thelen, a mechanical engineering professor at UW-Madison, mentioned in a press release. “For instance, tendon force measures might be used to information therapies of people with gait problems. It may additionally be helpful to objectively assess when a repaired tendon is sufficiently healed to perform usually and permit an individual to return to exercise.”
The system works by observing the velocity of a vibration, on this case shear wave propagation, that happens throughout a tendon when it’s exerted, Thelen defined. By quantifying this vibration and translating it to a corresponding measure of tendon stress, the group is ready to not directly measure the force being positioned upon sure elements of the physique.
Of observe, this technique would permit researchers or specialists to measure the inner muscle-tendon forces of motion with out surgically implanting force sensors — a technique beforehand utilized in animal research however withheld to be used of people.
“Currently, wearables can measure our movement, but do not provide information on the muscle forces that generate the movement,” Thelen mentioned. ”We’ve discovered a option to measure the vibrational traits … after which we went additional and decided how we will interpret this measurement to search out the tensile stress throughout the tendon.”
The machine created by the researchers consists of a mechanism that faucets the tendon it’s positioned over 50 occasions per second. Each faucet creates a rippling wave by way of the tendon, which is measured with two accelerometers. With this knowledge, the researchers can see noticeable adjustments in wave velocity when the wearer alters their gait.
“Such information could conceivably be used as biofeedback to guide gait retraining, and to track tissue load changes with injury and treatment,” the researchers wrote. “
“We envision numerous applications for investigating the motor control underlying normal movement and for identifying the biomechanical factors contributing to movement disorders,” the researchers wrote in Nature Communications. “Further, muscle–tendon forces induce much of the loading and deformation that occurs in ligament, cartilage, and skeletal tissues. Thus, muscle-tendon load information could be used to guide rehabilitative interventions, plan orthopedic procedures, assess tissue healing following treatment, monitor activity, and engineer viable tissues that can restore lost or impaired motor function.”