Conceptual Design of a Massaging Device to Mitigate Exercise Associated Calf Muscle Cramps

Diana Starovoytova


Exercise-associated muscle-cramping (EAMC) is a-common-condition, experienced by recreational and competitive-athletes, which can potentially-endanger their-health, as-well-as professional-career. This paper reports the-synopsis of a-conceptual-design, simulation, and analysis of a-massaging-device to-mitigate paraphysiologic-EAMC, in-the-calf-area. Document-analysis was utilized as one of the-study-instruments (including published-research on the-concepts of cramps and their-treatments; selected-relevant International-patents; the-use of anthropometric-data in product-design; prior-art on massaging-devices, and selected-devices, currently available at the-market, with their-respective-limitations). The-study applied fundamental-Engineering-principles of product design, and was-carried-out in-compliance with ISO7250: 1996 (Basic-human-body-measurements for technological-design). The-best-ranked-design (out of the 3 design-alternatives, made) was chosen, via Engineering-Design Weighted-Decision-Matrix, and confirmed by the ‘Drop and Re-vote’ (D & R) method. 2D-drawings, of the-best-design-alternative, were created by computer-aided-design (CAD) AutoCAD-software, while 50th percentile, adult-male was selected, as a design-target. Relevant-leg and hand-dimensions (one-dimensional measurements), were obtained from published-anthropometric-data-tables. Simulation of Stress-Analysis/Single-Point Static-Analysis (to-detect and eliminate rigid-body-modes; and separate stresses across contact-surfaces) was done by Autodesk Inventor-Version: 2016 (Build 200138000, 138). Conceptual-design of the-massaging-device was optimized according-to results of simulations, calculations, and fundamental engineering-product design principles. The-study also revealed that the-patho-physiology, causing EAMC, is most-likely multi factorial and complex. Overall, the-results of this-concise-study are rather-positive, providing a-good starting-point for advanced-exploration on the-same. Further-improvements and trials, however, are necessary. The-study, hence, recommended: (i) Further-studies, to-optimize the-dimensions of the-device, to-accommodate different-shapes of calf-muscles; (ii) More-advanced-methods, such-as PuCC; AHP, and TRIZ should be considered in-selection of the-best-design-alternative; (iii) Comprehensive-materials-selection should be detailed via Ashby-charts; (iv) To-carry-out a-detail-design; (v) To-fabricate a-prototype; (vi) To-conduct additional-tests (e.g., FEA/FEM) and explorative-use-ability-trials, in-collaboration-with the-department of Medical-Engineering, School of Medicine, MU; and (vii) To-analyze the-marketing-aspect of the-final-device. The-device is potentially-beneficial to sports-health-care-providers, coaches, and athletes; moreover, it could be included into-First-Aid Sport-kit (subject-to satisfactory-trails).

Keywords: EAMC, spasm, athlete, sports, theories.

DOI: 10.7176/ISDE/10-2-01

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