5 Pillars of Benno Nigg

Benno Nigg is likely the most published and cited biomechanist in the field of human locomotion. Professor Nigg was born in Switzerland and studied nuclear engineering. He changed direction early on and headed to the field of Biomechanics which he found more interesting and felt that there was more room to make advancements.

He is a long time professor at the University of Calgary. I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with him, the first time, many years ago at a Prescription Foot Orthotics Laboratory Conference held in Vancouver in the early 2000’s. More recently I’ve participated in Zoom conferences and there is an upcoming virtual Biomechanics seminar hosted by Fit Foot U which will feature the host Ben Pearl, DPM, Benno Nigg DNatSci, PhD, Richard Blake, DPM and myself. ( June 7, 2022 Biomechanics and Orthotics Summit)

I was asked what did I consider the most important 3 pillars of Dr. Nigg’s research. I decided there were at least five. I’ll list them and a relevant sampling of references:

1) kinetics is more important than kinematics
2) muscle tuning paradigm
3) preferred movement pathway
4) importance of comfort in selection of shoes, insoles and foot orthoses
5) importance of small muscles with optimal lever arm

From Nigg et. al. 2017

Mündermann, A., Nigg, B. M., Humble, R. N. & Stefanyshyn, D. J. (2003). Foot orthotics affect lower extremity kinematics and kinetics during running. Clinical Biomechanics, 18(3), 254–262.

Nigg, B. M. (2001). The Role of Impact Forces and Foot Pronation: A New Paradigm. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine11(1), 2.

Nigg, B. M. & Wakeling, J. M. (2001). Impact Forces and Muscle Tuning: A New Paradigm. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 29(1), 37–41.

Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS). 2017.
Muscle tuning and preferred movement path – a paradigm shift
Benno M Nigg, Maurice M Mohr, Sandro R Nigg

Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS). 2017.
Functional relevance of the small muscles crossing the ankle joint – the bottom-up approach
Benno M. Nigg, Jennifer Baltich, Peter Federolf, Sabina Manz, Sandro Nigg

Muscle Tuning During Running: Implications of an Un-tuned Landing
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. 2006.
Katherine A. Boyer, Benno M. Nigg

Nigg, B. M. & Wakeling, J. M. (2001). Impact Forces and Muscle Tuning: A New Paradigm. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 29(1), 37–41.

Nigg, B. M., Stergiou, P., Cole, G., Stefanyshyn, D., Mündermann, A. & Humble, N. (2003). Effect of shoe inserts on kinematics, center of pressure, and leg joint moments during running. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise35(2), 314–319.