A novel in vivo impact device for evaluation of sudden limb loading response

Erin Boutwell*, Rebecca Stine, Steven Gard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The lower limbs are subjected to large impact forces on a daily basis during gait, and ambulators rely on various mechanisms to protect the musculoskeletal system from these potentially damaging shocks. However, it is difficult to assess the efficacy of anatomical mechanisms and potential clinical interventions on impact forces because of limitations of the testing environment. The current paper describes a new in vivo measurement device (sudden loading evaluation device, or SLED) designed to address shortcomings of previous loading protocols. To establish the repeatability and validity of this testing device, reliability and human participant data were collected while the stiffnesses of simulated and prosthetic limbs were systematically varied. The peak impact forces delivered by the SLED ranged from 706. ±. 3. N to 2157. ±. 32. N during reliability testing and from 784. ±. 30. N to 938. ±. 18. N with the human participant. The relatively low standard deviations indicate good reliability within the impacts delivered by the SLED, while the magnitude of the loads experienced by the human participant (98-117% BW) were comparable to ground reaction forces during level walking. Thus, the SLED may be valuable as a research tool for investigations of lower-limb impact loading events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-155
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Impact loading
  • Lower limb
  • Mechanical testing
  • Reaction forces
  • Shock transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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