A possible energy-saving role for the major fascia of the thigh in running quadrupedal mammals



Experiments were performed to determine the mechanical importance of the fascia lata in stopping the hind limb during its rearward extension and reversing the direction of leg swing. Samples of fascia lata from a number of different mammals were subjected to tensile tests. Tangent Young's moduli reached about 0.5 GPa and stresses at failure about 50 MPa for fascia from each of the species examined. Energy losses incurred in a loading-unloading cycle were generally about 20%. The moment arms of the fascia lata, in combination with its muscle, about the hip and knee joints were determined and the extension of the fascia lata while its muscle is active was estimated. Calculations suggest that the fascia lata could help to reverse the backward swing of the hind limb by recoiling elastically shortly after the foot leaves the ground. Substantial savings of internal kilnetic energy could be made.