Biomechanical principles [Mechanical engineering]

# Biomechanical principles

10 Basic Principles of Biomechanics

The following ten principles of biomechanics provide a solid basis for looking at performance, whether it's coaching, teaching, rehabilitation, teaching a kid in the driveway, or watching a sporting event on TV. You can think of these principles as a list for quick reference. There may only be ten principles covered here, but seeing how they apply will keep you busy for the rest of your movement-analyzing days.

### The principle of force

Force causes movement — that's the fundamental principle of biomechanics. All error detection should be based on this principle. The movement you see occurs because of the forces that were applied. Bad movement reflects bad force.

When providing feedback, avoid simple descriptors of the body position you want to see (bend your leg, lead with the elbow, lean more) or bad performance (jump higher, throw farther, run faster) and focus on identifying and correcting the problem, with force production as the source of the problem.

### The principle of linked segments

The simplest model of the human body is a series of linked sticks (individual segments), joined at frictionless hinges (joints). Muscle force pulls on a segment, causing it to rotate faster or slower. The combined action of the muscle force at each joint and the resulting speed of each segment affects the speed at the distal end of the linked segments, such as a foot at the end of a leg or a hand at the end of an arm. (Think of any implement held in the hand as simply an extension of the distal segment.) The speed of the distal segment determines how much force it can apply, like a foot on the ground or a hand on a ball.

Considering the motion of the critical segments throughout the movement and not just the position of an individual segment at a specific instant within the movement gives greater insight into performance.

### The principle of impulse-causing momentum

A body speeds up or slows down only while an external force is applied, and it speeds up or slows down only in the direction the force is applied. Impulse is the product of the force and its time of application. Impulse causes a change in the momentum of a body, or how fast it's going in a specific direction. This cause-effect relationship provides a useful approach to analyzing movement. If the body isn't traveling fast enough or isn't going in the desired direction, its momentum is wrong. The problem with the momentum comes from an error in the applied impulse. Errors in the applied impulse arise from force magnitude, force direction, and/or the length of time the force is applied — and these errors stem from the segment motions, not just the positions.

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### FAQ

##### What Is the Importance of Biomechanics in Podiatry?

The implications of biomechanics in podiatry are vast. Podiatry is the medical field concerned with the well-being of feet. Biomechanics pertains to the mechanical study of biological beings. As there are many mechanical uses of the feet, it is obvious that this science and branch of medicine are woven together.

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