Department for Health

Dr Polly McGuigan

Polly Mcguigan

Director of StudiesMSc Sport and Exercise Medicine

Applied Biomechanics Suite 1.304
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 3541

External Projects


  • Lecturer in Biomechanics since October 2005
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University 2003-2005 – Limb muscle dynamics during steady and unsteady locomotion
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biology, University of Leeds 2002-2003 – Mechanical performance of bird flight muscles
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Royal Veterinary College 2000-2002 – Does muscle and surface damping of limb vibration prevent injury in the racehorse?
  • PhD, The Royal Veterinary /catalogues/2011-2012/hl/ College, University of London – The scope for adjustment of distal limb mechanics of the horse (Equus callabus)

Research interests

  • Muscle and tendon mechanics
  • The interaction of the contractile and elastic elements of the muscle-tendon unit
  • How muscle work and power are modulated in response to different locomotor activities such as walking, running, jumping, incline/decline, acceleration/deceleration and perturbations in gaits such as tripping
  • Changes in muscle-tendon unit mechanics with ageing, injury and fatigue and the affect these have on the mechanics of joints and limb function.
  • The interaction of age related changes in muscle mechanics and neural activity and the effect these have on the ability to perform locomotor tasks.
  • The mechanics of tripping – how changes in walking velocity and the timing, magnitude and nature of the trip stimulus affect recovery mechanism and success.
  • These are investigated using a combination of ultrasound imaging, forceplate and motion analysis and EMG.

Current research projects

  • Muscle work and power modulation during level, incline and decline running and jumping and the relationship between muscle architecture and functional plasticity.
  • The aetiology of Achilles tendon injuries and their effect on the mechanical properties of the tendon and functioning of the triceps surae muscle tendon complex.
  • The effect of footwear and exercise interventions on the strain of the Achilles tendon during exercise.
  • The effect of stretching on muscle tendon unit compliance and its implications for performance and injury.
  • The Biomechanics of Trip Recovery: a combination of experimental and simulation modeling approaches are used to better understand how individuals perform a successful recovery following a trip during walking.



Salo, A., McGuigan, M., Trewartha, G. and Wilson, C., eds., 2010. BASES Biomechanics Easter meeting, no. 25. University of Bath.

Book Sections

McGuigan, M., Ranson, C. and Joyce, D., 2016. Tendon injuries. In: Joyce, D. and Lewindon, D., eds. Sports Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation. Routledge, pp. 199-212.


Wilson, C., Perkin, O. J., McGuigan, M. P. and Stokes, K. A., 2016. The effect of age on technique variability and outcome variability during a leg press. PLoS ONE, 11 (10), e0163764.

Perkin, O. J., Travers, R. L., Gonzalez, J. T., Turner, J. E., Gillison, F., Wilson, C., McGuigan, P. M., Thompson, D. and Stokes, K. A., 2016. Exercise strategies to protect against the impact of short-term reduced physical activity on muscle function and markers of health in older men:study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 17 (1), 381.

Perkin, O., McGuigan, P., Thompson, D. and Stokes, K., 2016. A reduced activity model:a relevant tool for the study of ageing muscle. Biogerontology, 17 (3), pp. 435-447.

Ladlow, P., Phillip, R., Etherington, J., Coppack, R., Bilzon, J., McGuigan, M. P. and Bennett, A. N., 2015. Functional and mental health status of United Kingdom military amputees post-rehabilitation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96 (11), pp. 2048-2054.

Licence, S., Smith, R., McGuigan, M. P. and Earnest, C. P., 2015. Gait pattern alterations during walking, texting and walking and texting during cognitively distractive tasks while negotiating common pedestrian obstacles. PLoS ONE, 10 (7), e0133281.

Farris, D. J., Trewartha, G., McGuigan, M. P. and Lichtwark, G. A., 2013. Differential strain patterns of the human Achilles tendon determined in vivo with freehand three-dimensional ultrasound imaging. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 216 (4), pp. 594-600.

Farris, D. J., Buckeridge, E., Trewartha, G. and McGuigan, M. P., 2012. The effect of orthotic heel lifts on Achilles tendon force and strain during running. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 28 (5), pp. 511-519.

Farris, D. J., Trewartha, G. and Mcguigan, M. P., 2012. The effects of a 30-min run on the mechanics of the human Achilles tendon. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 112 (2), pp. 653-660.

Farris, D. J., Trewartha, G. and Mcguigan, M. P., 2011. Could intra-tendinous hyperthermia during running explain chronic injury of the human Achilles tendon? Journal of Biomechanics, 44 (5), pp. 822-826.

Roos, P. E., Mcguigan, M. P. and Trewartha, G., 2010. The role of strategy selection, limb force capacity and limb positioning in successful trip recovery. Clinical Biomechanics, 25 (9), pp. 873-878.

Mcguigan, M. P., Yoo, E., Lee, D. V. and Biewener, A. A., 2009. Dynamics of goat distal hind limb muscle-tendon function in response to locomotor grade. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 212 (13), pp. 2092-2104.

Lee, D. V., McGuigan, M. P., Yoo, E. H. and Biewener, A. A., 2008. Compliance, actuation, and work characteristics of the goat foreleg and hindleg during level, uphill, and downhill running. Journal of Applied Physiology, 104 (1), pp. 130-141.

Farris, D., Buckeridge, E., Trewartha, G. and McGuigan, P., 2008. The effects of orthotic heel lifts on Achilles tendon force and strain during running. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A - Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 150 (3), S82.

Roos, P. E., McGuigan, M. P., Kerwin, D. G. and Trewartha, G., 2008. The role of arm movement in early trip recovery in younger and older adults. Gait & Posture, 27 (2), pp. 352-356.

McGuigan, M. P., Dorey, N. C. and Lichtwark, G. A., 2007. The effects of heel lifts on Achilles tendon strain during walking and running. Journal of Biomechanics, 40 (Suppl 2), S218.

McGuigan, M. P., Walsh, T. C., Pardoe, C. H., Day, P. S. and Wilson, A. M., 2005. Deep digital flexor tendon force and digital mechanics in normal ponies and ponies with rotation of the distal phalanx as a sequel to laminitis. Equine Veterinary Journal, 37 (2), pp. 161-165.

Gillis, G. B., Flynn, J. P., McGuigan, M. P. and Biewener, A. A., 2005. Patterns of strain and activation in the thigh muscles of goats across gaits during level locmotion. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208, pp. 4599-4661.

Eliashar, E., McGuigan, M. P. and Wilson, A. M., 2004. Relationship of foot conformation and force applied to the navicular bone of sound horses at the trot. Equine Veterinary Journal, 36 (5), pp. 431-435.

Viitanen, M. J., Wilson, A. M., McGuigan, M. P., Rogers, K. A. and May, S. A., 2003. Effect of foot balance on intra-articular pressure in the distal interphalangeal joint in vitro. Equine Veternary Journal, 35, pp. 184-189.

McGuigan, M. P. and Wilson, A. M., 2003. The effect of gait and digital flexor muscle activation on limb compliance in the forelimb of the horse Equus caballus. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 206 (8), pp. 1325-1336.

Eliashar, E., McGuigan, M. P., Rogers, K. A. and Wilson, A. M., 2002. A comparison of three horseshoeing styles on the kinetics of breakover in sound horses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 34, pp. 184-490.

Smith, R. K. W., McGuigan, M. P., Hyde, J. T., Daly, A. S. G., Pardoe, C. H., Lock, A. N. and Wilson, A. M., 2002. In vitro evaluation of nonrigid support systems for the equine metacarpophalangeal joint. Equine Veterinary Journal, 34 (7), pp. 726-731.

Wilson, A. M., McGuigan, M. P., Su, A. and van den Bogert, A. J., 2001. Horses damp the spring in their step. Nature, 414 (6866), pp. 895-899.

McGuigan, M. P. and Wilson, A. M., 2001. The effect of bilateral palmar digital nerve analgesia on the compressive force experienced by the navicular bone in horses with navicular disease. Equine Veterinary Journal, 33 (2), pp. 166-171.

Pardoe, C. H., McGuigan, M. P. and Wilson, A. M., 2001. The effect of shoe material on the kinetics and kinematics of foot slip at impact using a concrete topped forceplate. Equine Veterinary Journal, 33, pp. 70-73.

Wilson, A. M., McGuigan, M. P., Fouracre, L. and MacMahon, L., 2001. The force and contact stress on the navicular bone during trot locomotion in sound horses and horses with navicular disease. Equine Veterinary Journal, 33 (2), pp. 159-165.

Conference or Workshop Items

Stone, B., Cazzola, D., McGuigan, P., Holsgrove, T., Gill, R., Gheduzzi, S., Miles, T., Stokes, K., Trewartha, G. and Preatoni, E., 2014. Spinal muscle activity in simulated rugby union scrummaging is affected by different engagement conditions.

Non-academic press

McGuigan, P. and Salo, A., 2014. Can a human ever run 100m under nine seconds? The Conversation


McGuigan, M., 2014. Is there an optimum style for running the marathon?

This list was generated on Thu Mar 23 04:39:39 2017 GMT.

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