Can martial arts techniques reduce fall severity? An in vivo study of femoral loading configurations in sideways falls.
SourceJournal of Biomechanics, 45, 9, (2012), pp. 1650-5
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Biomechanics
SubjectNCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue; NCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue DCN PAC - Perception action and control; NCEBP 2: Evaluation of complex medical interventions ONCOL 4: Quality of Care
Sideways falls onto the hip are a major cause of femoral fractures in the elderly. Martial arts (MA) fall techniques decrease hip impact forces in sideways falls. The femoral fracture risk, however, also depends on the femoral loading configuration (direction and point of application of the force). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of fall techniques, landing surface and fall height on the impact force and the loading configuration in sideways falls. Twelve experienced judokas performed sideways MA and Block ('natural') falls on a force plate, both with and without a judo mat on top. Kinematic and force data were analysed to determine the hip impact force and the loading configuration. In falls from a kneeling position, the MA technique reduced the impact force by 27%, but did not change the loading configuration. The use of the mat did not change the loading configuration. Falling from a standing changed the force direction. In all conditions, the point of application was distal and posterior to the greater trochanter, but it was less distal and more posterior in falls from standing than from kneeling position. The present decrease in hip impact force with an unchanged loading configuration indicates the potential protective effect of the MA technique on the femoral fracture risk. The change in loading configuration with an increased fall height warrant further studies to examine the effect of MA techniques on fall severity under more natural fall circumstances.
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