Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Neuromechanics of explosive performance for movement control and joint stabilisation: acute and chronic responses to exercise


Sports injuries such as ruptured knee ligaments (e.g. anterior cruciate ligament) are painful injuries that affect quality of life including an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA). These injuries often occur due to a disturbance of balance that leads to a fall.

The strength of an individual’s muscles, and particularly their ability to produce force quickly, are thought to be important in regaining stability quickly, reducing the chance of injury and its consequences. However, this area has received little attention in the research literature. 

What the research hopes to achieve

This study aims to investigate if our speed/rate of developing force or the amount of force we can exert is able to predict how we respond to a lack of balance by using a laboratory based platform (see left picture above), which moves and makes it difficult to maintain stability. Ultimately this may help us to identify why some people are more prone to traumatic injury, which would make it easier to identify ways to help prevent injuries and possible future disability associated with OA.

Specific objectives will be to assess:

  • Neuromuscular capability; this will include measuring the strength of both  quadriceps and triceps surae muscles and the   speed of force development and maximum levels of force exerted. 
  • Biomechanical responses to mechanical disruption of a person’s balance using 1) CAREN virtual reality system (a computer controlled mechanical platform which can be moved in many directions) and 2) a treadmill where the speed is suddenly reduced.
Work Package Mechanisms of Movement Dysfunction and Interventions (WP3)
Principal Investigators Dr Jonathan Folland & Dr Matt Pain (Loughborough University)

Fearghal Behan