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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The effect of the most common gait perturbations on the compensatory limb's ankle, knee, and hip moments during the first stepping response

Dongyual Yoo, Kap-Ho Seo, Beom-Chan Lee
Gait & Posture 2019, 71: 98-104
31031225

BACKGROUND: Trips and slips, the two most common gait perturbations, often cause falls. Multiple studies have focused mainly on the kinematics of multiple body segments in response to an unexpected trip or slip induced by mechanical obstacles, cables, treadmills, and slippery agents or contaminants on a floor. Few studies have examined the joint moments of the compensatory limb following an unexpected trip on an obstacle.

RESEARCH QUESTION: This proof-of-concept study sought to assess the ankle, knee, and hip moments of the compensatory limb during normal walking and the first stepping response following the two most common gait perturbations.

METHODS: Eighteen healthy young adults completed 4 trials (2 trials with a random trip perturbation and 2 trials with a random slip perturbation) while walking on a split-belt treadmill. In each trial, the motorized treadmill induced either an unexpected trip or slip perturbation to the left foot between the 31 st and 40th step randomly. A motion capture system recorded the positions of body segments, the joint moments (i.e., ankle, knee, and hip moments) of the compensatory limb were quantified, and the maximum joint moments were assessed during normal walking and the first stepping response.

RESULTS: Compensatory limb's ankle plantarflexion, knee flexion, hip flexion, and hip extension moments were significantly higher for a slip perturbation than for a trip perturbation during the first stepping response. Compensatory limb's knee flexion, hip flexion, and hip extension moments were also significantly higher during the first stepping response to a slip perturbation compared to normal walking.

SIGNIFICANCE: This proof-of-concept study is the first to investigate the ankle, knee, and hip moments of the compensatory limb during the first stepping response following unexpected gait perturbations induced by a split-belt treadmill. The findings are expected to improve the gait perturbation paradigms developed for training balance-impaired individuals.

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