The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research: aka…. “How The Gait Guys feel much of the time”

We started The Gait Guys in some ways because despite all of the questions we asked  over the years,  from those who we all deemed as “those who are supposed to know”, we rarely got answers that we felt were sufficient for our thirst.

We had the research data that everyone else had, but no one was helping us put together a big picture that made sense or had reasonable clinical outcomes.  We are on a journey here at The Gait Guys. A journey based on the honesty and truth behind how the human body ambulates, the parameters that are necessary for it to work right, and what happens when things go wrong.

In the mean time, we share the conclusion statement of this journal article (link) .  It pretty much sums up how Ivo and I feel from time to time.  We hope you enjoy the reality of the statement.

____________________________________________

Productive stupidity means being ignorant by choice. Focusing on important questions puts us in the awkward position of being ignorant. One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. No doubt, reasonable levels of confidence and emotional resilience help, but I think scientific education might do more to ease what is a very big transition: from learning what other people once discovered to making your own discoveries. The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.” -Martin A. Schwartz

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The key to the statement above was …. ” as long as we learn something each time”.  Otherwise, according to Einstein, we would be considered insane. 

Technology and medicine are moving at light speed our dear brethren. This is why we start our weekly podcast (LINK) with a neuroscience piece and link the new science and technology discoveries to gait and human movement. Because we would all be stupid not to look forward under the exponential growth paradigm that is today’s reality.

Have a good week everyone…….we have some great stuff queued up for the week, hope you get a little out of it all.

– We remain……..The Gait Guys……two “productively and comfortably stupid” gentlemen.

The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research: aka…. “How The Gait Guys feel much of the time”

We started The Gait Guys in some ways because despite all of the questions we asked  over the years,  from those who we all deemed as “those who are supposed to know”, we rarely got answers that we felt were sufficient for our thirst.

We had the research data that everyone else had, but no one was helping us put together a big picture that made sense or had reasonable clinical outcomes.  We are on a journey here at The Gait Guys. A journey based on the honesty and truth behind how the human body ambulates, the parameters that are necessary for it to work right, and what happens when things go wrong.

In the mean time, we share the conclusion statement of this journal article (link) .  It pretty much sums up how Ivo and I feel from time to time.  We hope you enjoy the reality of the statement.

____________________________________________

Productive stupidity means being ignorant by choice. Focusing on important questions puts us in the awkward position of being ignorant. One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. No doubt, reasonable levels of confidence and emotional resilience help, but I think scientific education might do more to ease what is a very big transition: from learning what other people once discovered to making your own discoveries. The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.” -Martin A. Schwartz

________________________________________________________

The key to the statement above was …. ” as long as we learn something each time”.  Otherwise, according to Einstein, we would be considered insane. 

Technology and medicine are moving at light speed our dear brethren. This is why we start our weekly podcast (LINK) with a neuroscience piece and link the new science and technology discoveries to gait and human movement. Because we would all be stupid not to look forward under the exponential growth paradigm that is today’s reality.

Have a good week everyone…….we have some great stuff queued up for the week, hope you get a little out of it all.

– We remain……..The Gait Guys……two “productively and comfortably stupid” gentlemen.

Vertical Oscilations, Danny Abshire and Running & Walking

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=575995729092248&set=vb.111772995514526&type=2&theater

We saw this short 1 minute video by Danny Abshire on vertical movements in running (link is above). Here was the caption placed (by Runner’s Soul) with the video.

  • “Danny Abshire, running guru and CTO of Newton Running, explains how vertical oscillation can impede any runner’s performance – did you know that lifting 6 inches with every foot strike can add almost 2.5 miles onto a marathon?”

We are currently trying to find the reference material he used (anyone please forward it to us at thegaitguys@gmail.com).  In theory it makes sense.  Here is an article that shows something a little different. This research article shows shows that minimizing the center of mass vertical movement increases metabolic cost because of the loss of passive mechanical energy from pendulum mechanics. Now, to be fair, apparently Danny was talking about increased distance and not metabolic cost. But what if distance was trumped by energy and time ?  Now there is a neat thought ! We doubt any marathoner would be upset if they ran further than the actual marathon distance but PR’d in the attempt.  One could easily postulate that the term “increased metabolic cost” would mean a slower run time because of the activity being inefficient.

  • This study’s findings findings clearly demonstrate that human walkers consume substantially more metabolic energy when they minimize vertical motion.

In this study’s case, it refers to walking, however could it postulate to running as well?  Just something to think about.  As our reading on this topic continues, and as we find supportive and conflicting journal information we will post attachments here amongst our other articles to make sure our readership can see both sides of the peer reviewed research. In Danny’s, and everyone defense, we often find conflicting research in peer reviewed articles, it almost seems at though one can take a stance on any side of a medical topic and find an article to prove the theory, sadly often leaving us nowhere but spinning in place.

Anyhow, the summary of this peer reviewed article by Ortega concluded that :

“in flat-trajectory walking, subjects reduced center of mass vertical displacement by an average of 69% but consumed approximately twice as much metabolic energy over a range of speeds . In flat-trajectory walking, passive pendulum-like mechanical energy exchange provided only a small portion of the energy required to accelerate the center of mass because gravitational potential energy fluctuated minimally. Thus, despite the smaller vertical movements in flat-trajectory walking, the net external mechanical work needed to move the center of mass was similar in both types of walking. Subjects walked with more flexed stance limbs in flat-trajectory walking, and the resultant increase in stance limb force generation likely helped cause the doubling in metabolic cost compared with normal walking. Regardless of the cause, these findings clearly demonstrate that human walkers consume substantially more metabolic energy when they minimize vertical motion.”

In our summarizing of the article it indicated that more vertical motion seems to engage some of the energy conserving pendulum effects of the limbs. We know this happens in the spine. Serge Gracovetsky (“the Spinal Engine”) and many other researchers have discussed this energy conservation by the repetitive coiling and uncoiling of the spinal curves and loading/unloading of the spinal discs.   Here is the journal and abstract below.

Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys

________________________________

J Appl Physiol. 2005 Dec;99(6):2099-107. Epub 2005 Jul 28. Minimizing center of mass vertical movement increases metabolic cost in walking. Ortega JD, Farley CT. Source

Locomotion Laboratory, Dept. of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0354, USA. ortegajd@colorado.edu

Abstract

A human walker vaults up and over each stance limb like an inverted pendulum. This similarity suggests that the vertical motion of a walker’s center of mass reduces metabolic cost by providing a mechanism for pendulum-like mechanical energy exchange. Alternatively, some researchers have hypothesized that minimizing vertical movements of the center of mass during walking minimizes the metabolic cost, and this view remains prevalent in clinical gait analysis. We examined the relationship between vertical movement and metabolic cost by having human subjects walk normally and with minimal center of mass vertical movement (“flat-trajectory walking”). In flat-trajectory walking, subjects reduced center of mass vertical displacement by an average of 69% (P = 0.0001) but consumed approximately twice as much metabolic energy over a range of speeds (0.7-1.8 m/s) (P = 0.0001). In flat-trajectory walking, passive pendulum-like mechanical energy exchange provided only a small portion of the energy required to accelerate the center of mass because gravitational potential energy fluctuated minimally. Thus, despite the smaller vertical movements in flat-trajectory walking, the net external mechanical work needed to move the center of mass was similar in both types of walking (P = 0.73). Subjects walked with more flexed stance limbs in flat-trajectory walking (P < 0.001), and the resultant increase in stance limb force generation likely helped cause the doubling in metabolic cost compared with normal walking. Regardless of the cause, these findings clearly demonstrate that human walkers consume substantially more metabolic energy when they minimize vertical motion.

Ankle muscle spindles play a significant role in the control of posture and balance during the swing phase of locomotion

 
                                                                                                              
“The results provide strong evidence that the primary endings of ankle muscle spindles play a significant role in the control of posture and balance during the swing phase of locomotion by providing information describing the movement of the body’s COM with respect to the support foot. Our results also provide supporting evidence for the proposal that there are context-dependent changes in muscle spindle sensitivity during human locomotion.”                                                                                    

  • This study tells us what we already know: The muscles surrounding the ankle, especially of the leg you are standing on (the “stance” phase leg) provide important information to the central nervous system about both that leg AND the leg not on the ground (The “swing” phase leg).  Remember the central integration of things like the Crossed Extensor Response we have talked about in prior podcasts ?
  • The implications are that if you have an ankle injury, this mechanism can be altered, resulting in loss of balance (or proprioception) as well as opening you up to greater (or additional) injury.
  • The other implication is that the whole ball of wax is “situationally dependent”; meaning plastic and adaptable. Pretty cool !
The Gait Guys. Bringing you the latest and greatest, each and every post.
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                
 SOURCE:
Exp Brain Res. 2002 Mar;143(1):24-34. Epub 2001 Dec 18.

The effects of human ankle muscle vibration on posture and balance during adaptive locomotion.

Source

Gait and Posture Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada.

Abstract

This study investigated the contribution of ankle muscle proprioception to the control of dynamic stability and lower limb kinematics during adaptive locomotion, by using mechanical vibration to alter the muscle spindle output of individuals’ stance limbs. It was hypothesised that muscle length information from the ankle of the stance limb provides information describing location as well as acceleration of the centre of mass (COM) with respect to the support foot during the swing phase of locomotion. Our prediction, based on this hypothesis was that ankle muscle vibration would cause changes to the position and acceleration of the COM and/or compensatory postural responses. Vibrators were attached to both the stance limb ankle plantarflexors (at the Achilles tendon) and the opposing dorsiflexor muscle group (over tibialis anterior). Participants were required to walk along a 9-m travel path and step over any obstacles placed in their way. There were three task conditions: (1) an obstacle (15 cm in height) was positioned at the midpoint of the walkway prior to the start of the trial, (2) the same obstacle was triggered to appear unexpectedly one step in front of the participant at the walkway midpoint and (3) the subjects’ walking path remained clear. The participants’ starting position was manipulated so that the first step over the obstacle (when present) was always performed with their right leg. For each obstacle condition participants experienced the following vibration conditions: no vibration, vibration of the left leg calf muscles or vibration of the anterior compartment muscles of the lower left leg. Vibration began one step before the obstacle at left leg heel contact and continued for 1 s. Vibrating the ankle muscles of the stance limb during the step over an obstacle resulted in significant changes to COM behaviour [measured as displacement, acceleration and position with respect to the centre of pressure (COP)] in both the medial/lateral (M/L) and anterior/posterior planes. There were also significant task-specific changes in stepping behaviour associated with COM control (measured as peak M/L acceleration, M/L foot displacement and COP position under the stance foot during the step over the obstacle). The results provide strong evidence that the primary endings of ankle muscle spindles play a significant role in the control of posture and balance during the swing phase of locomotion by providing information describing the movement of the body’s COM with respect to the support foot. Our results also provide supporting evidence for the proposal that there are context-dependent changes in muscle spindle sensitivity during human locomotion.

Ankle muscle spindles play a significant role in the control of posture and balance during the swing phase of locomotion

 
                                                                                                              
“The results provide strong evidence that the primary endings of ankle muscle spindles play a significant role in the control of posture and balance during the swing phase of locomotion by providing information describing the movement of the body’s COM with respect to the support foot. Our results also provide supporting evidence for the proposal that there are context-dependent changes in muscle spindle sensitivity during human locomotion.”                                                                                    

  • This study tells us what we already know: The muscles surrounding the ankle, especially of the leg you are standing on (the “stance” phase leg) provide important information to the central nervous system about both that leg AND the leg not on the ground (The “swing” phase leg).  Remember the central integration of things like the Crossed Extensor Response we have talked about in prior podcasts ?
  • The implications are that if you have an ankle injury, this mechanism can be altered, resulting in loss of balance (or proprioception) as well as opening you up to greater (or additional) injury.
  • The other implication is that the whole ball of wax is “situationally dependent”; meaning plastic and adaptable. Pretty cool !
The Gait Guys. Bringing you the latest and greatest, each and every post.
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                
 SOURCE:
Exp Brain Res. 2002 Mar;143(1):24-34. Epub 2001 Dec 18.

The effects of human ankle muscle vibration on posture and balance during adaptive locomotion.

Source

Gait and Posture Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada.

Abstract

This study investigated the contribution of ankle muscle proprioception to the control of dynamic stability and lower limb kinematics during adaptive locomotion, by using mechanical vibration to alter the muscle spindle output of individuals’ stance limbs. It was hypothesised that muscle length information from the ankle of the stance limb provides information describing location as well as acceleration of the centre of mass (COM) with respect to the support foot during the swing phase of locomotion. Our prediction, based on this hypothesis was that ankle muscle vibration would cause changes to the position and acceleration of the COM and/or compensatory postural responses. Vibrators were attached to both the stance limb ankle plantarflexors (at the Achilles tendon) and the opposing dorsiflexor muscle group (over tibialis anterior). Participants were required to walk along a 9-m travel path and step over any obstacles placed in their way. There were three task conditions: (1) an obstacle (15 cm in height) was positioned at the midpoint of the walkway prior to the start of the trial, (2) the same obstacle was triggered to appear unexpectedly one step in front of the participant at the walkway midpoint and (3) the subjects’ walking path remained clear. The participants’ starting position was manipulated so that the first step over the obstacle (when present) was always performed with their right leg. For each obstacle condition participants experienced the following vibration conditions: no vibration, vibration of the left leg calf muscles or vibration of the anterior compartment muscles of the lower left leg. Vibration began one step before the obstacle at left leg heel contact and continued for 1 s. Vibrating the ankle muscles of the stance limb during the step over an obstacle resulted in significant changes to COM behaviour [measured as displacement, acceleration and position with respect to the centre of pressure (COP)] in both the medial/lateral (M/L) and anterior/posterior planes. There were also significant task-specific changes in stepping behaviour associated with COM control (measured as peak M/L acceleration, M/L foot displacement and COP position under the stance foot during the step over the obstacle). The results provide strong evidence that the primary endings of ankle muscle spindles play a significant role in the control of posture and balance during the swing phase of locomotion by providing information describing the movement of the body’s COM with respect to the support foot. Our results also provide supporting evidence for the proposal that there are context-dependent changes in muscle spindle sensitivity during human locomotion.

Mobium, Schmobium.

Here is the latest and greatest from the shoe manufacturer, Puma; it is their version of a more “adaptive” or “accommodative” shoe. They do not say minimalisitic, but rather it interferes minimally with walking or running. Good thing, because it has a pretty thick sole, superimposes a pretty substantial arch to the foot, and also has a fairly narrow toe box. Their runner is also a heel striker, at least at the beginning of the video.

Last time we checked, the plantar fascia was not “X” shaped and was present on the entire plantar surface of the foot, without an “apex” or “torque” in the center of where the medial longitudinal arch is located.

In referring to mirroring as they do in the video, we were wondering which muscles, bones and fat pads of the foot the “pods” actually mirror? And then there is those siping lines of the outsole, what’s with them and their location? The metatarsal heads form an arc at their distal end, where they articulate with the phalanges, as do the interphalageal joints (joints between the toes). This shoe’s lines arc less than we would expect.

They have the 5 metatarsal pads, not unlike the Newton. What happened at the toes?  Individuals with 3 toes should do well with those pods for the proximal and distal phalanges, but we think this is probably a limited market (wink, smile, wink).

We agree that “expansion” of a shoe is important so we think this shoe has a neat underlying idea. We would hope most folks aren’t wearing shoes that are too tight or short that their feet don’t have room to move inside the shoe.  We are also curious about the height of the lateral longitudinal arch, last time we looked there was not a tunnel shaped arch running under the foot.  The lateral longitudinal arch is always must more subtle and gentle.

Technically sound? We don’t think so, not from what we have discussed above. As for bringing something to the market that doesn’t exist that enhances the performance of the athlete? Well, it is unique, but performance enhancement remains to be seen. As for wrapping the shoe in a blanket of fabulous Puma design? It does have catchy colors and a great marketing campaign…

Just some off the cuff thoughts on our part. We would love a pair to dialogue out these thoughts and others. We are always open to being wrong, but we know our shoes and we know foot and shoe anatomy and biomechanics.  If you are from PUMA, contact us and send us a pair, we will be happy to eat our words if we are wrong in our cursory suppositions.

The Gait Guys. Helping you to make better footwear decisions and ask the questions no one wants to ask

all material copyright 2013 the Homunculus Group/ The Gait Guys. Please ask before using our material.

Podcast #26: Google shoes, shoe tech & indoor track biomechanics

Pod #26: The new Google Shoes, hamstring injuries in short track running and shoe tech.

podcast link: 

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-26-google-shoes-shoe-tech-indoor-track-biomechanics-and-injuries

iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

Gait Guys online /download store:

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen  Biomechanics

Today’s show notes:

Two neuroscience pieces today which parlay nicely into last weeks podcast on kurzweils singujlarity

1- Google Shoes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/google-shoes_n_2853098.html

http://youtu.be/VcaSwxbRkcE

This weekend, at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, Google unveiled an early prototype of motion-sensing “smart shoes,” with an embedded speaker on the tongue of the shoe that can yell motivation at you when you’re being lazy, or encourage you when you’re being active. Google —which created the talking shoes in collaboration with Adidas,

2- The First Wireless, Implantable Brain-Computer Interface

http://gizmodo.com/5988342/the-first-wireless-implantable-brain+computer-interface-will-help-us-move-things-with-our-minds-on-the-go

3- Problems with small track counterclockwise running

J Mot Behav. 2012;44(1):63-8. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2011.645912. Epub 2012 Jan 13. Asymmetrical neural adaptation in lower leg muscles as a consequence of stereotypical motor training. Ogawa T, Kawashima N, Suzuki S, Nakazawa K.

Clin J Sport Med. 2000 Oct;10(4):245-50. Asymmetrical strength changes and injuries in athletes training on a small radius curve indoor track. Beukeboom C, Birmingham TB, Forwell L, Ohrling D.

4- Puma mobium shoe
http://youtu.be/9cOPMG-TDqw

5- from a Facebook readerI just saw you’re video on hammer toe stretching on tumblr. Great article with it too.

I’ve noticed that on my left foot, my 5th toe doesn’t touch the ground at all when my foot is flat on the ground. It appears not to be doing any work and the pain under the head of my 5th met is getting worse each week now.

6- another facebook question

  • I’ve been doing your shuffle steps and moonwalk to increase my very inflexible ankles. Is there anything else I can do? I read the study and your blog post how stretching doesn’t work. My teammates have literally over twice the dorsiflexion I have and it really shows in my skating. If these two excersises are all that can be done what are the reps/sets/times per week recommendations?

7- Cushioned Heel Running Shoes May Alter Adolescent Biomechanics, Performance
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319091420.htm

Shawn and Ivo

the gait guys