Quantifying Forearm Soft Tissue Motion from Massless Skin Markers following Forward Fall Hand Impacts

Danielle L. Gyemi, Don Clarke, Paula M. van Wyk, William J. Altenhof, David M. Andrews


Background: Investigating soft tissue motion related to impact events is important for understanding how the body mitigates potentially injurious forces through shock attenuation. Objectives: The aims of this study were to: 1) quantify displacement and velocity of the forearm soft tissues following forward fall impacts; and 2) compare two massless skin marker designs (single layer, uniform (SLU) design; stacked, non-uniform (SNU) design) in terms of how well they could be tracked over varying skin pigmentations using automated motion capture software. Methods: Two participant groups (skin pigmentation: light – 9F, 8M; dark – 9F, 6M) underwent simulated forward fall hand impacts for each marker design using a torso-release apparatus. Marker positions associated with planar motion of forearm soft tissues during impact were automatically tracked (ProAnalyst®) in the proximal-distal and anterior-posterior axes from high speed recordings (5000 f/s). Mean peak displacements and velocities for eight forearm regions were then calculated (LabVIEW®). Results: Overall, soft tissue displacement and velocity increased from distal to proximal forearm regions. The greatest displacement (1.47 cm) and velocity (112.8 cm/s) occurred distally toward the wrist. Soft tissue impact responses between sexes did not differ, on average (p > 0.05). The SLU and SNU markers produced different kinematic values (p < 0.05); however, the magnitudes of, and consequently meaningfulness of these statistical differences for automatically tracking soft tissue motion, were negligible (displacement: ≤ 0.05 cm; velocity: ≤ 2.5 cm/s). Conclusions: Forearm soft tissue motion was successfully quantified for forward fall hand impacts; both marker designs were deemed functionally equivalent.


Upper Extremity, Forearm, Accidental Falls, Biomechanical Phenomena, Pattern Recognition, Automated

Full Text:



Akbarshahi, M., Schache, A., Fernandez, J., Baker, R., Banks, S., & Pandy, M. (2010). Non-invasive assessment of soft-tissue artifact and its effect on knee joint kinematics during functional activity. Journal of Biomechanics, 43(7), 1292-1301.

Baumgartner, R. N. (2000). Body composition in healthy aging. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 904, 437-448.

Brydges, E. A., Burkhart, T. A., Altenhof, W. J., & Andrews, D. M. (2015). Leg soft tissue position and velocity data from skin markers can be obtained with good to acceptable reliability following heel impacts. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33(15), 1606-1613.

Burkhart, T. A., & Andrews, D. M. (2010a). Activation level of extensor carpi ulnaris affects wrist and elbow acceleration responses following simulated forward falls. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 20(6), 1203-1210.

Burkhart, T. A., & Andrews, D. M. (2010b). The effectiveness of wrist guards for reducing wrist and elbow accelerations resulting from simulated forward falls. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 26(3), 281-292.

Burkhart, T. A., Andrews, D. M., & Dunning, C. E. (2012). Failure characteristics of the isolated distal radius in in response to dynamic impact loading. Journal Orthopaedic Research, 30(6), 885-892.

Burkhart, T. A., Quenneville, C. E., Dunning, C. E., & Andrews, D. M. (2014). Development and validation of a distal radius finite element model to simulate impact loading indicative of a forward fall. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine, 228(3), 258-271.

Choi W. J., & Robinovitch, S. N. (2011). Pressure distribution over the palm region during forward falls on the outstretched hands. Journal of Biomechanics, 44(3), 532-539.

Cole, G. K., Nigg, B. M., van den Bogert, A. J., & Gerritsen, K. G. M. (1996). Lower extremity joint loading during impact in running. Clinical Biomechanics, 11(4), 181-193.

Crammond, G., Boyd, S. W., & Dulieu-Barton, J. M. (2013). Speckle pattern quality assessment for digital image correlation. Optics and Lasers in Engineering, 51(12), 1368-1378.

DeGoede, K. M., & Ashton-Miller, J. A. (2002a). Fall arrest strategy affects peak hand impact force in a forward fall. Journal of Biomechanics, 35(6), 843-848.

DeGoede, K. M., Ashton-Miller, J. A., Schultz, A. B., & Alexander, N. B. (2002b). Biomechanical factors affecting the peak hand reaction force during the bimanual arrest of a moving mass. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 124(1), 107-112.

Fitzpatrick, T. B. (1988). The validity and practicality of sun reactive skin types I through VI. Archives of Dermatology, 124(6), 869-871.

Fuller, J., Liu, L., Murphy, M., & Mann, R. (1997). A comparison of lower-extremity skeletal kinematics measured using skin- and pin-mounted markers. Human Movement Science, 16(2-3), 219-242.

Gao, B., & Zheng, N. (2008). Investigation of soft tissue movement during level walking: translations and rotations of skin markers. Journal of Biomechanics, 41(15), 3189-3195.

Gittoes, M. J., Brewin, M. A., & Kerwin, D. G. (2006). Soft tissue contributions to impact forces simulated using a four-segment wobbling mass model of forefoot–heel landings. Human Movement Science, 25(6), 775-787.

Greenwald, R. M., Janes, P. C., Swanson, S. C., & McDonald, T. R. (1998). Dynamic impact response of human cadaveric forearms using a wrist brace. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 26(6), 825-830.

Gruber, K., Ruder, H., Denoth, J., & Schneider, K. (1998). A comparative study of impact dynamics: wobbling mass model versus rigid body models. Journal of Biomechanics, 31(5), 439-444.

Haddadi, H., & Belhabib, S. (2008). Use of rigid-body motion for the investigation and estimation of the measurement errors related to digital image correlation technique. Optics and Lasers in Engineering, 46(2), 185-196.

Hwang, I. K., Kim, K. J., Kaufman, K. R., Cooney, W. P., & An, K. N. (2006). Biomechanical efficiency of wrist guards as a shock isolator. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 128(2), 229-234.

Idzikowski, J. R., Janes, P. C., & Abbott, P. J. (2000). Upper extremity snowboarding injuries. Ten-year results from the Colorado snowboard injury survey. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 28(6), 825-832.

Kim, K. J., & Ashton-Miller, J. A. (2003). Biomechanics of fall arrest using the upper extremity: Age differences. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 18(4), 311-318.

Kuo, M. Y., Tsai, T. Y., Lin, C. C., Lu, T. W., Hsu, H. C., & Shen, W. C. (2011). Influence of soft tissue artifacts on the calculated kinematics and kinetics of total knee replacements during sit-to-stand. Gait & Posture, 33(3), 379-384.

Laing, A. C., & Robinovitch, S. N. (2009). Low stiffness floors can attenuate fall-related femoral impact forces by up to 50% without substantially impairing balance in older women. Accident; Analysis and Prevention, 41(3), 642-650.

Lattimer, L. J., Lanovaz, J. L., Farthing, J. P., Madill, S., Kim, S., & Arnold, C. (2016). Upper limb and trunk muscle activation during an unexpected descent on the outstretched hands in young and older women. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 30, 231-237.

Lattimer, L. J., Lanovaz, J. L., Farthing, J. P., Madill, S., Kim, S., Robinovitch, S., & Arnold, C. (2017). Female age-related differences in biomechanics and muscle activity during descents on the outstretched arms. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 25(3), 474-481.

Leardini, A., Chiari, L., Croce, U., & Cappozzo, A. (2005). Human movement analysis using stereophotogrammetry: Part 3. Soft tissue artifact assessment and compensation. Gait & Posture, 21(2), 212-225.

Luebberding, S., Krueger, N., & Kerscher, M. (2014). Mechanical properties of human skin in vivo: a comparative evaluation in 300 men and women. Skin Research and Technology, 20(2), 127-135.

Manal, K. K., McClay Davis, I. I., Galinat, B. B., & Stanhope, S. S. (2003). The accuracy of estimating proximal tibial translation during natural cadence walking: bone vs. skin mounted targets. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 18(2), 126-131.

Maughan, R. J., Abel, R. W., Watson, J. S., & Weir, J. (1986). Forearm composition and muscle function in trained and untrained limbs. Clinical Physiology, 6(4), 389-396.

Mazess, R. B., Barden, H. S., Bisek, J. P., & Hanson, J. (1990). Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry for total-body and regional bone-mineral and soft-tissue composition. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51(6), 1106-1112.

Mills, C., Scurr, J., & Wood, L. (2011). A protocol for monitoring soft tissue motion under compression garments during drop landings. Journal Biomechanics, 44(9), 1821-1823.

Mirhadi, S., Ashwood, N., & Karagkevrekis, B. (2015). Review of rollerblading injuries. Trauma, 17(1), 29-32.

Muller, M. E., Webber, C. E., & Bouxsein, M. L. (2003). Predicting the failure load of the distal radius. Osteoporosis International, 14(4), 345-352.

Myers, E., Sebeny, E., Hecker, A., Corcoran, T., Hipp, J., Greenspan, S., & Hayes, W. (1991). Correlations between photon absorption properties and failure load of the distal radius in vitro. Calcified Tissue International, 49(4), 292-297.

Nellans, K. W., Kowalski, E., & Chung, K. C. (2012). The epidemiology of distal radius fractures. Hand Clinics, 28(2), 113-125.

Nevitt, M. C., & Cummings, S. R. (1993). Type of fall and risk of hip and wrist fractures: The study of osteoporotic fractures. The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 41(11), 1226-1234.

Pain, M. T., & Challis, J. H. (2002). Soft tissue motion during impacts: Their potential contributions to energy dissipation. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 18(3), 231-242.

Pain, M. T., & Challis, J. H. (2006). The influence of soft tissue movement on ground reaction forces, joint torques and joint reaction forces in drop landings. Journal of Biomechanics, 39(1), 119-124.

Palvanen, M., Kannus, P., Parkkari, J., Pitkäjärvi, T., Pasanen, M., Vuori, I., & Järvinen, M. (2000). The injury mechanisms of osteoporotic upper extremity fractures among older adults: A controlled study of 287 consecutive patients and their 108 controls. Osteoporosis International, 11(10), 822-831.

Peters, A., Galna, B., Sangeux, M., Morris, M., & Baker, R. (2010). Quantification of soft tissue artifact in lower limb human motion analysis: A systematic review. Gait & Posture, 31(1), 1-8.

Prichasuk, S. (1994). The heel pad in plantar heel pain. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. British Volume, 76(1), 140-142.

Robinovitch, S. N., & Chiu, J. (1998). Surface stiffness affects impact force during a fall on the outstretched hand. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 16(3), 309-313.

Sangeux, M. M., Marin, F. F., Charleux, F. F., Dürselen, L. L., & Ho Ba Tho, M. C. (2006). Quantification of the 3D relative movement of external marker sets vs. bones based on magnetic resonance imaging. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 21(9), 984-991.

Sati, M., de Guise, J. A., Larouche, S., & Drouin, G. (1996). Quantitative assessment of skin-bone movement at the knee. The Knee, 3(3), 121-138.

Stagni, R., Fantozzi, S., Cappello, A., & Leardini, A. (2005). Quantification of soft tissue artefact in motion analysis by combining 3D fluoroscopy and stereophotogrammetry: A study on two subjects. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 20(3), 320-329.

Stefanczyk, J. M., Brydges, E. A., Burkhart, T. A., Altenhof, W. J., & Andrews, D. M. (2013). Surface accelerometer fixation method affects leg soft tissue motion following heel impacts. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science, 1(3), 1-8.

Südhoff, I., Van Driessche, S., Laporte, S., de Guise, J.A., & Skall, W. (2007). Comparing three attachment systems used to determine knee kinematics during gait. Gait & Posture, 25(4), 533-543.

Sumino, H., Ichikawa, S., Abe, M., Endo, Y., Ishikawa, O., & Kurabayashi, M. (2004). Effects of aging, menopause, and hormone replacement therapy on forearm skin elasticity in women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52(6), 945-949.

Winter, D. A. (2005). Biomechanics and motor control of human movement (2nd ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Wolf, A., & Senesh, M. (2011). Estimating joint kinematics from skin motion observation: modelling and validation. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 14(11), 939-946.

Wrbaškić, N. N., & Dowling, J. J. (2007). An investigation into the deformable characteristics of the human foot using fluoroscopic imaging. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 22(2), 230-238.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.6n.3p.1


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2018 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.