This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Biomechanical Responses to Synthetic and Natural Turf during Locomotion




Decoux, Brandi

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The ability of athletes to adapt their movement patterns appropriately to varying constraints imposed by the playing environment is crucial for performance as well as musculoskeletal health. For outdoor athletes, playing environment variations are often derived from synthetic and natural turf surfaces. The purpose of this project was to assess biomechanical movement parameters of hopping and running on four different turf surfaces—three synthetic and one natural—through two separate specific aims. For the first aim, vertical and leg stiffness and movement frequencies were analyzed during these movements to determine whether athletes interpret differences between synthetic and natural turf surfaces. No differences between surfaces were not found, indicating that the body interprets the demands of the tested surfaces to be similar. For the second aim, inter-segmental coordination variability between six segment couplings was examined during the braking and propulsion sub-phases of running and hopping to determine whether synthetic and natural turf surfaces affect how athletes regulate the lower extremity linked-segment system. Only one difference in coordination variability was detected. Specifically a reduction in coordination variability in the pelvis-thigh sagittal plane coupling during the braking phase of hopping was observed on the firmest of the synthetic turf surfaces compared to the natural. Overall, the consistency in the biomechanical responses to these surfaces during running and hopping suggest that the musculoskeletal system does not perceive there to be a need for different movement patterns on synthetic and natural turf and warrants further investigation.