The present study quantified the effects of different shear cushion stiffness on the time to peak posterior shear force (TPPSF), peak posterior shear force (PPSF), average posterior loading rate (APLR), and maximum posterior loading rate (MPLR) at different locomotion speeds using a custom-made sliding platform, as well as to identify the optimal stiffness of shear cushion. Twelve male collegiate students (heel-strikers) performed walking at 1.5 m/s, jogging at 2.5 m/s, and running at 3.5 m/s. A custom-made sliding platform was used to provide the different shear cushion conditions. The shear cushion conditions were fixed (a fixed platform; control group), stiff (K = 2746 N/m), medium stiff (K = 2256 N/m), medium soft (K = 1667 N/m), and soft (K = 1079 N/m). The results showed that all cushion conditions produced sliding displacement and delayed the TPPSF during walking, jogging, and running compared with fixed condition. The APLR and MPLR were lowest under medium soft condition during walking, while the PPSF was similar between medium soft and soft conditions. For jogging and running, the PPSF as well as APLR and MPLR were the lowest under medium stiff condition except the maximum PLR was similar among stiff, medium stiff, and medium soft conditions during running. In conclusion, shear cushion produces appropriate sliding displacement and effectively delays the TPPSF to provide the musculoskeletal system additional time to absorb the impact and reduce loading. The present study demonstrates optimal stiffness of shear cushion at different traveling speeds and suggests that a shear cushion system can be applied in future designs of cushion structures.
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