Approaches to overcome lab restraints in locomotion biomechanics


I will provide a brief overview of work in the field of human locomotion biomechanics performed in the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopaedics at the German Sport University in Cologne. Here, we analyze humans performing all kinds of locomotor behaviors, including walking, running, sprinting, jumping and changing directions. In our studies, we try to elucidate the determinants of joint loading and performance with an emphasis on the role of technical devices (e.g. footwear, orthoses or prostheses).

Traditionally, we use state-of-the-art 3D motion analysis techniques and measure the external forces acting on the human body e.g. via force platforms. Using these measurements, we can perform inverse dynamics calculations to determine joint loading, energy generation and absorption. The drawback of these techniques is that they are all lab based, which challenges the ecological validity of these procedures. Therefore, the second purpose of my talk will be to suggest approaches to overcome lab restraints and collect data in the real world. This approach will strongly improve the validity of studies aiming to understand, for example, overuse injury development in sport, the development of osteoarthritis and the prevention of falls in the elderly.


Steffen Willwacher is a postdoc at the German Sport University (GSU) Cologne, from which he received both his Diploma degree in 2009 and PhD in Sport Sciences in 2014. Since then he has been working at the Institute of Biomechanics of the GSU, where he analyzes human locomotion over a wide range of speeds (including walking, running, sprinting and jumping) and subject groups (from patients to elite athletes) with a focus on the biomechanical loading and performance of the lower extremities.

Willwacher is also a co-owner of the Institute of Functional Diagnostics in Cologne where biomechanical analysis techniques are utilized to help patients with movement related pain and injuries. He also lectures biomechanics at the Coaches’ Academy of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB).

Lecturer: Dr. Steffen Willwacher, German Sport University, Cologne
Date: Friday 9th November 2018, 14:00
Building/Room: EIHW social room