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Effets des équipements de fantassin modernes sur la locomotion et la fatigue neuromusculaire du soldat déployé : simulation opérationnelle

Abstract : For more than a century, load carriage has been the source of many scientific questions and researches, especially in armies in which soldiers have to reach operational goals while carrying heavy loads complexly distributed around their body and this for some hours to several days. Moreover, with the development of new technologies and the advent of land warfare systems, this issue is becoming more complex since load continues to increase. General purpose: The aim of the present work was to investigate the biomechanical, metabolic and neuromuscular constraints imposed by the carriage of a modern land warfare system in experienced soldiers. Specifically, a first study was conducted to characterize the acute effects of land warfare equipments carriage on the biomechanics and energetics of walking. Moreover, a second research was performed to investigate the neuromuscular and locomotor consequences of an extreme-duration simulated military mission (performed in the field) involving the carriage of these specific equipments. First part: Walking analyses performed on an instrumented treadmill showed that the carriage of a land warfare system in two configurations made for “Battles” and “Road marches” (main configuration used in the field representing ~30% and ~50% of subject’s body mass, respectively) altered the walking pattern. Moreover, the mechanical work applied to the center of mass increased in parallel with the energy cost of walking during Battle and Road March configurations carriage, as shown by the constant locomotor efficiency in the three tested conditions. The inverted pendulum-like energy exchange (Cavagna’s standard method), allowing mechanical/metabolic energy saving, was also constant in all the unloaded and loaded conditions. Finally, even if the load was complexly distributed around soldiers’ body with this warfare system, this did not induce greater effects than those reported with loads carried symmetrically around the waist and close to the center of mass; which has yet been hypothesized to be the optimal method of load carriage from both mechanical and metabolic standpoints (except “original” methods such as head carrying that cannot be used in the military theater). Second part: Performing a 21-h simulated military mission with heavy land warfare system carriage induced relatively moderate neuromuscular alterations (isometric force measurement with electrical stimulation and EMG) for both knee extensors and plantar flexors locomotor muscle groups in experienced soldiers. Moreover, the origin of fatigue was essentially peripheral for both muscle groups but was concomitant with a large sensation of fatigue. Finally, the simulated mission, and notably the associated locomotor muscles fatigue, did not alter walking biomechanics and energetics. General conclusion: These results bring the first insight into the biomechanical, metabolic and neuromuscular consequences of modern land warfare system carriage in experienced soldiers, and this by a real-world approach aiming at simulating the military theater conditions
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Jordane Grenier. Effets des équipements de fantassin modernes sur la locomotion et la fatigue neuromusculaire du soldat déployé : simulation opérationnelle. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012STET002T⟩. ⟨tel-00978768⟩

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