Biomechanics is a fascinating field that combines engineering, physics, and biology principles to understand how living organisms move and function. This interdisciplinary study looks at entire body systems, organs, cells, and organelles and how they react to various forces and external stimuli. This field has helped uncover how blood flows in the human body and how mechanical forces affect cell growth and gene expression.
From understanding the ways our organs function and change with age to the effects of disease on the human body, biomechanical studies have helped advance the diagnosis and treatment of various health conditions. In this article, we will dive into the key medical applications of biomechanics.
In neuroscience, biomechanics can help examine how the mechanical properties of neural cells and tissues change in response to injury, disease, and aging. Studying the biomechanical aspects of the brain can lead to new insights into brain injuries, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Biomechanical research on the spinal cord can also provide crucial knowledge for treating spine diseases.
Gait analysis, the study of human ambulation, is a powerful biomechanics application. By studying how biophysical factors affect the musculoskeletal system during walking, gait analysis can provide insights into disease causes. It can also assist in developing treatment plans.
Researchers use biomechanical principles to study the kinematics and kinetics of gait, including the movement and forces of the joints, muscles, and bones during the walking cycle. Gait analysis evaluates normal and pathological gait patterns by measuring joint angles, muscle activity, and ground reaction forces. Clinicians use these parameters to diagnose, plan treatments, and monitor patients with walking abnormalities.
For example, gait analysis has been used to study the effects of knee osteoarthritis (OA) on walking patterns and to assess treatment options, such as acupuncture. Research has shown that acupuncture can be an effective alternative treatment for mild-to-moderate knee OA, providing pain relief and improving gait patterns.
Sports science is one of the most well-known applications of biomechanics. Athletes use this scientific field to analyze and improve their techniques in sports, such as running, jumping, and throwing. Biomechanists can help athletes optimize their performance and reduce their risk of injury by studying movement mechanics.
For instance, a biomechanist can analyze the running techniques of a sprinter using motion capture technology. With this information, the researcher can recommend ways to improve the sprinter’s form and prevent injuries.
The musculoskeletal system controls human motion and includes bones, muscles, ligaments, and joints. Any injury or change to this system can affect movement and cause disability.
Biomechanical principles have helped us gain insights into how the bones, joints, and muscles interact to support the body and how injury and disease affect these organs. Further studies can aid in improving current orthopedic surgical techniques and designing prosthetic devices.
An exciting and rapidly advancing area of medical biomechanics is its application to the design and development of prosthetic limbs. Prosthetics are artificial devices that replace or assist with the function of a missing or impaired limb.
Researchers use motion analysis systems, computer simulations, and mathematical models to study movement patterns and evaluate the performance of prosthetic devices. Their goal is to replicate the natural limb’s range of motion, strength, and control.
An interesting research field in prosthetic design is the development of assistive devices that can help patients with mobility impairments to move more easily and independently. These devices can sense the user’s intentions and automatically adjust their movement. Through brain-computer interfaces, patients can control prosthetic devices using their thoughts.
Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular disease is a significant global health concern since it is among the leading causes of death worldwide. Biomechanics plays a crucial role in understanding and treating cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers use computer simulations, mathematical models, and experimental techniques to identify the biomechanical factors contributing to cardiovascular disease. With this knowledge, researchers can design and evaluate new treatments that can improve the quality of life for patients.
For instance, the study of Wall Shear Stress and biochemical signaling has led to a better understanding of cardiovascular diseases and the development of personalized treatments. Biomechanics helps save lives and improve the health of millions of people worldwide by studying the mechanics of the vascular system.
Regenerative medicine is a clinical field transforming how we treat damaged and diseased tissues and organs. This medical field takes advantage of the human body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Physical forces surrounding tissues significantly affect how they grow, develop, and repair themselves. So, control of biomechanical factors can help engineer new tissues, such as muscles, bones, heart, face, skin, and nerves. Manipulating biomechanical stimuli may be the key to producing regenerated tissues with high strength and endurance.
Biomechanics is an essential field that has wide-ranging medical applications. It plays a crucial role in understanding and treating various medical conditions. As technology continues to advance, the area of biomechanics will continue to evolve, bringing new and innovative solutions to the medical field.