Lower Extremity Neuromuscular Control Group

The lower extremity is involved in all movements of daily life and physical activity. We focus on the influence of internal (age, gender, etc.) and external factors like training parameters, orthotic devices or pathology on dynamic movement patterns. The general methodological paradigm combines the pure biomechanical view with a focus on the organization and adaptation of the neuromuscular system.

Currently for example, the group is working on the acute and long-term influence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury on knee stability. Injury to the ACL and especially rupture to the ACL occurs during physical activity and leads to severe impairment of knee function. Adequate rehabilitation strategies and especially preventive measures are therefore crucial. Beside mechanical stability, adequate neuromuscular control secures necessary joint stability and protection. Muscle pre-activation before and reflex activity just shortly after potentially harmful perturbations of knee stability are of upmost importance to achieve sound knee function. The evaluation of sensorimotor control in functionally relevant situations may therefore serve as a key element in functional diagnostics. The approach is to evaluate persons with acute ACL injury in daily life activities (e.g. level walking, walking upstairs, walking downstairs). Moreover, neuromuscular control is evaluated during artificially induced tibia perturbation. The analysis of neuromuscular control has the goal to extract potentially differing neuromuscular characteristics that differentiate healthy cohorts and patients. This leads to a diagnostic tool with validated outcomes, which can be used for further research questions. Objective parameters can help to rate rehabilitation progress or return-to-sport decisions after rehabilitation