The comparison of differences in lower body kinematics during forward treadmill skating between two different hockey skate designs
The purpose of this study was to investigate the kinematic differences in ankle plantar flexion range of motion and angular velocity during propulsion of the forward hockey skating stride between a traditional hockey skate and a hockey skate that has a flexible rear tendon guard. Secondary purposes included investigating the kinematic differences in range of motion and angular velocity at both the knee and hip during propulsion while participants were wearing both skate designs. Differences in stride length, stride width and stride velocity during propulsion between the two different skate designs were then investigated. Finally differences in range of motion and angular velocity of the ankle, knee, and hip along with the velocity of the skating stride and the time the skate blade was in contact with the treadmill were investigated as the skating treadmill increased in speed from 3.33 m/s to 8.05 m/s. Eight elite hockey players were selected for the present study, which was conducted on an Endless Ice Skating Treadmill. Variables were recorded using a three-camera setup and measured at five selected treadmill speeds using Dartfish Team Pro version six software. Kinematic variables were then compared between the two skate designs with a doubly multivariate repeated measures design. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. Post hoc univariate tests comparing skate designs displayed significant increases in plantar flexion, plantar flexion angular velocity, hip extension, hip extension angular velocity, stride length, and stride velocity while participants were wearing the skate that had a flexible rear tendon guard. Significant increases were also displayed in plantar flexion, plantar flexion angular velocity, knee extension, knee extension angular velocity, hip extension, hip extension angular velocity, hip abduction range of motion, hip abduction angular velocity, stride width, stride length, and stride velocity as the treadmill speed increased. There was also a significant decrease in the time the skate was in contact with the treadmill as treadmill speed increased. The results suggested that while skating forward, hockey players could improve their hockey skating technique by using a hockey skate that has a flexible rear tendon guard.