Sasa Cigoja

Research exchange with Dr. Andrew Cresswell at University of Queensland

The financial support from the ISEA in form of the ISEA Student Engagement Award allowed me to partially fund a research exchange with Dr. Andrew Cresswell’s research group at the School of Human Movement & Nutrition Sciences, University of Queenland, Brisbance, Australia.

Dr. Cresswell’s laboratory is the leading research facility in assessing the mechanics of the human foot arch, intrinsic foot muscles, and in-vivo ultrasound imaging. My personal goals for this research exchange were to gain insight on the advantages and limitations of indwelling electromyography (EMG), and the assessment of foot arch mechanics in different footwear conditions. While visiting the lab, I had the pleasure to observe and participate in multiple studies, where, for example, the activity of intrinsic foot muscles and their influence on foot and lower limb mechanics were measured. For this, ultrasound-guided fine-wire electrodes were inserted into the foot (Figure 1) while 3D kinematic and kinetics were assessed during various jumping tasks (Figure 2) by a motion capture system and force plates, respectively. Further, a nerve block was used to inhibit the contracting abilities of the intrinsic foot muscles. Additionally, I was able to significantly extend my own analyses on the role of the arch and how its mechanics are affected by increased midsole bending stiffness of sport shoes. With great assistance from Drs. Luke Kelly and Ryan Riddick, I modelled the plantar muscle-tendon unit (plantar aponeurosis + intrinsic foot muscles) and its mechanics in different footwear conditions during running and jumping using previously collected data. This in-depth analysis of the interaction between multiple (in-series/in-parallel) compliances of the foot-shoe interface will be included in two poster presentations at the upcoming Footwear Biomechanics Symposium and the International Society of Biomechanics conference in Kananaskis and Calgary.

I would like to thank the ISEA for awarding me the Student Engagement Award, which helped me fund visiting one of the leading biomechanics research laboratories in the world, and therefore allowed me to improve my research skills tremendously.