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.
The group is currently working for example (i.a.) on the acute and long-term influence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury (rupture) on knee stability. Injury to the ACL occurs during physical activity and leads to severe impairment of knee function. Adequate rehabilitation strategies and preventive measures are crucial for optimal treatment. Beside mechanical stability, sound neuromuscular control secures active 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 optimal knee stability. 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. stairway walking). Moreover, neuromuscular control is evaluated during artificially induced tibia perturbation. The analysis of neuromuscular control has the goal to extract neuromuscular characteristics that differentiate healthy cohorts and patients. This leads to a diagnostic tool with validated outcomes, that can be used for further research questions. Objective parameters can help to rate rehabilitation progress or return-to-sport decisions after rehabilitation. Furthermore, we establish the additional analysis of cortical activation patterns and their alteration due to injury in current project setup.