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Vigouroux L.,Aix - Marseille University | Vigouroux L.,Institute des science du Mouvement | Goislard de Monsabert B.,Aix - Marseille University | Berton E.,Aix - Marseille University
European Journal of Applied Physiology | Year: 2015

Purpose: This study investigated the hand and wrist muscle capacities among expert rock climbers and compared them with those of non-climbers. The objective was to identify the adaptations resulting from several years of climbing practice.Methods: Twelve climbers (nine males and three females) and 13 non-climber males participated in this study. Each subject performed a set of maximal voluntary contractions about the wrist and the metacarpo-phalengeal joints during which net joint moments and electromyographic activities were recorded. From this data set, the muscle capacities of the five main muscle groups of the hand (wrist flexors, wrist extensors, finger flexors, finger extensors and intrinsic muscles) were estimated using a biomechanical model. This process consisted in adjusting the physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) and the maximal muscle stress value from an initial generic model.Results: Results obtained from the model provided several new pieces of information compared to the analysis of only the net joint moments. Particularly, the capacities of the climbers were 37.1 % higher for finger flexors compared to non-climbers and were similar for finger extensor and for the other muscle groups. Climbers thus presented a greater imbalance between flexor and extensor capacities which suggests a potential risk of pathologies.Conclusions: The practice of climbing not only increased the strength of climbers but also resulted in specific adaptations among hand muscles. The proposed method and the obtained data could be re-used to optimize the training programs as well as the rehabilitation processes following hand pathologies. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Domalain M.,Institute des science du Mouvement | Vigouroux L.,Institute des science du Mouvement | Berton E.,Institute des science du Mouvement
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering | Year: 2010

While modeling the trapeziometacarpal (TMC) joint for determination of tendon forces, the TMC has been considered frictionless and passive moments created by soft tissues neglected. This, however, becomes inaccurate when reaching the joint end range of motion and considering that the TMC is entirely crossed by a complex network of skin, ligaments, soft tissues, and tendons. The objective of this study was to evaluate the passive moments with respect to joint posture in order to further include this relationship in biomechanical modeling. An experimental method was proposed to estimate in vivo a global passive moment including the sum of the actions of each passive anatomical structure. An external force was applied at the level of the metacarpophalangeal joint in various directions ranging from neutral position to full extension and full adduction to full abduction. The passive moment was computed and expressed as a function of the adopted joint angles. An exponential regression was then developed to fit the experimental data and to propose a generic passive moment model. Results showed a good agreement between the proposed exponential regression model and the experimental measures. Moreover, it was shown that joint stiffness could represent more than 60% of the net joint moment during a typical pulp grip task. These results showed the necessity to include the data in biomechanical modeling. The results may help predict more realistic tendons force especially in abduction/adduction muscles. Copyright © 2010 by ASME.

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