Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have described a wearable device that can better measure muscle-tendon tension during certain activities, such as walking or running.
The prototype device previously tested on the Achilles, patella and hamstring tendons, is a viable, noninvasive alternative to tendon tension measurement and could find a place in rehabilitation or orthopedics with additional work, the team said.
"We see the potential of this new technology is high, both from a fundamental science perspective and for clinical applications," said Darryl Thelen, professor of mechanical engineering at UW-Madison, in a statement. "For example, tendon strength measures could be used to direct treatments for people with gait disorders, and it may also be useful to objectively assess when a repaired tendon is sufficiently healed to function normally and to allow a person to return to activity . "
The system works by observing the velocity of a vibration, in this case shear wave propagation that occurs across a tendon when it is exerted, explains Thelen, quantifying this vibration and translating it into a corresponding amount of tendon tension The position The force exerted on certain parts of the body can be measured indirectly.
Remarkably, this strategy allows researchers or specialists to measure the internal muscular-tendon forces of movement without the need to implant force sensors ̵
The device developed by the researchers consists of a mechanism knocking on the tendon, which it places over 50 times a second. Each touch creates a wavy wave through the tendon, which is measured with two accelerometers. With this data, researchers can notice remarkable changes in wave velocity as the wearer changes his gait.
"Such information could potentially be used as biofeedback to guide the retraining of gaits and to track changes in tissue load during injuries and treatments." Researchers wrote. "
" We envision numerous applications to study motor control underlying normal motion and identify the biomechanical factors that contribute to movement disorders, "the researchers wrote in Nature Communications Muscle-tendon forces induce much of the strain and deformation that occurs in ligament, cartilage, and skeletal tissues, and muscle-tendon stress information could be used to guide rehabilitative interventions, plan orthopedic procedures, and post-treatment tissue repair to monitor activity and develop viable tissue that can restore lost or impaired motor function. "