2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Emerging Technologies for Early Detection of Distal Leg Stress Fracture (Evaluating Tibial Loading)

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Tyler Brown


Tibial stress fractures are a common overuse injury suffered by recreational runners. These injuries are thought to occur from repetitive application of abnormal tibial loads, which may stem from alterations in gait biomechanics. Yet, the specific gait biomechanical alterations exhibited by individuals with tibial stress fracture are unknown. This study sought to compare (a) lower limb biomechanics for runners with and without tibial stress fractures and (b) whether markerless motion capture can detect similar lower limb joint biomechanics alterations as marker-based for individuals with tibial stress fractures. Runners with documented tibial stress fracture and healthy controls will have lower limb biomechanics recorded while they walk (1.3m/s), jog (2.5m/s), and run (3.5m/s) over a flat, a sloped (angled 10-degrees medially), and an uneven surface. Three-dimensional lower limb (hip, knee, and ankle) joint angles will be calculated using the gold standard, a marker-based 10-camera Vicon motion capture system, and a markerless, OpenCap, motion capture system. Then, statistical analyses will compare hip, knee, and ankle joint angles between runners with and without tibial stress fracture, and joint angles derived with marker-based and markerless motion capture systems. Determining whether markerless motion capture, i.e., OpenCap, can accurately determine the same lower limb joint biomechanics alterations for individuals with stress fracture as marker-based systems will provide a valuable tool to record joint biomechanics, particularly for clinical populations, outside of the traditional laboratory setting in a low-cost, user-friendly setup.

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