Edited by Nicholas Stergiou, Academic Press, 2020, ISBN: 9780128133729, xxvii + 384 pages, $320 (paperback, list)
The primary author of and eight contributors to this text have generated this overview text of the general area of human biomechanics and gait analysis. All authors are contributors to the field and have leant their experiences to this text. Students and professionals interested in the general area of biomechanics and gait analysis, and applications thereof to areas related to rehabilitation and orthotics, will find this text of interest.
The text consists of 11 chapters, which I shall overview briefly. Chapter 1 gives a brief overview of the history of biomechanics and offers that the field encompasses the general areas of developmental (age-related), exercise, rehabilitation, occupational, and forensic areas of study and application. The next chapter overviews basic biomechanics at a first course level and includes the necessary basic terminology regarding nomenclature, types of joints, motion, and motion measurement. Advanced biomechanics are covered in Chapter 3, with an in-depth discussion of running injuries: their causes, treatments, and prevention. Stressed here is that each individual is unique; there is no rule that fits all individuals in a particular task.
Chapter 4 introduces “stickman,” an exercise in conceptualizing the why and how of movement (from cause and effect to learned behavior). Next, in Chapter 5, as a prelude to gait pattern analysis, Fourier analysis, noise, filtering, and the like are reviewed. Chapter 6 next reviews, with updates, the text Muscles, Reflexes, and Locomotion by McMahon (1984, Princeton Univ. Press).
Chapter 7 next reviews the basics of gait analysis and nomenclature and discusses gait as a skill. With the stage set, Chapter 8 next considers gait variability, with a mention of possible perturbations to normal, such as due to Alzheimer’s disease, age, ACL surgery, and falls. Chapter 9 gives an overview of a dynamic systems approach to human gait analysis, with examples again of the effects of aging and ACL surgery. Chapter 10 covers fractal analysis of human movements, stressing the idea that gait variability is meaningful and worth investigating as a measure of gait quality. Lastly, Chapter 11 gives a practical discussion of the present and potential future uses of 3-D printing in biomechanics, from the generation of personalized casts, exoskeletons, orthoses, to surgical planning models.
Overall, this text is a well-written good overview of the current and possible applications of human biomechanics and gait analysis. Each chapter is well referenced and reflects well on the one or more authors’ work in the field. I recommend it as a good starting point for those interested in this area of endeavor.
—Review by Paul H. King, Vanderbilt University