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Treadmill considerations

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Smilingtoes, May 25, 2008.

  1. Smilingtoes

    Smilingtoes Active Member

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    After years of avoiding buying a treadmill due to the controversy over the lack of propulsive phase and other issues associated with treadmill gait analysis I have come around to accept the value of a treadmill/ Dart Fish set up to better quantify dynamic biomechanics.
    When considering the treadmill purchase a number of issues deserve consideration; such as horse-power, mat width and length etc etc.
    Could those of the forum help me with suggestions when selecting a treadmill;
    What is considered best practice?
    Most practical?
  2. Johnpod

    Johnpod Active Member

    I have had entirely satisfactory performance from a Tunturi 502 (now probably 15 years old).

    It has a flat, hard, horizontal walking surface which I consider to be derigeur. Power is not an issue with this machine which in every sense is more than adequate. It does not get hot when running for a while so it never has to work too hard.

    The handrails are in the best position for safety but do not interfere with armswing or video recording.

    But, essentially, it allows continuous speed adjustment - 0 to oo-er! - smoothly - not in incremental preset raises. I consider it vital to gait analysis that the subject selects their own cadence. Only then are the gait parameters realistic. Many need quite a slow-running belt surface and it is here that the power of the machine becomes most important.

    It should be remembered that the treadmill need not be simply for analysis of young athletic subjects, but also has application to the elderly flat-foot where repetition of cycle can reveal all manner of gait abberations. Safety is paramount.

    I also consider it essential to educate subjects in treadmill use. Many older people will never have trodden the boards and it may be a new experience for them. Even those who have used a treadmill before may not have done so for some considerable time. I start them slowly and explain everything at least three times. Allow time for practice. Patience is essential for the establishment of confidence and natural ambulation.
  3. Smilingtoes

    Smilingtoes Active Member

    Thanks Johnpod,
    Great points! Practically those assessed will more than likely be unsteady, a smooth gradual speed change will be important. Any ideas about engine tork and horse power or adequate mat width and length? Variations I have seen are between 2.2 and 3Hp.
  4. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  5. Johnpod

    Johnpod Active Member

    Thanks Admin - the Treadmill walking/running thread makes good reading.

    The treadmill that I use has a belt surface 4ft long and 17inches wide. The 3inch side bars are useful for stepping on/off and there is a 9inch platform to prevent falling of the rear end. The front end is simply the roller.

    Surprised to find that the motor is only 1.5HP - never had the motor housing off before this!

    There's an under-belt antifriction lubricant that I use once in a blue moon and I can't imagine how the belt could possibly be stopped by weight or inactivity.
  6. Smilingtoes

    Smilingtoes Active Member

    Thanks for your guidance Johnpod. I guess the horse power issues can be allot-of salesman talk it up.

    I'll have a good look at the link Admin suggests.
  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Mar Systems in the UK has some good info on treadmils, Jonathan may stop by and comment.
  8. Here's a good recent article comparing the kinetics and kinematics of treadmill running. I have the paper on pdf also if anyone wants it, contact me privately.

  9. Smilingtoes

    Smilingtoes Active Member

    :good:Thank you Mr Kirby!
    That’s a great help both to myself my colleague and patients I communicate with. As I strive to implement evidence based measures within my practice I had wondered where a treadmill would fit in. I am buoyed by the comment, "it is possible to study the mechanics of running under well-controlled and reproducible conditions".

    I purchased a 2.5Hp treadmill today with a max speed of 20km belt width 20" and length 56". Of course I would have liked a bigger better one, although that with me is the case for most things. I am after all a little materialistic.:eek:

    I plan to match this up with an older Sony digital video camera and the latest version of Dart Fish Pro (purchased today). I understand the main benefit of the Pro version is to maintain the lines I draw during motion, allowing me to record average angles of say twenty strides quickly without having to redraw the lines.

    I would be most interested if anyone might point me in the direction of previous research published using the Dart Fish software as a tool.

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