- Meeting abstract
- Open Access
Walking on an unpredictable irregular surface changes lower limb biomechanics and subjective perception compared to walking on a regular surface
© Sterzing et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
- Published: 8 April 2014
- Ankle Joint
- Plantar Pressure
- Ground Contact
- Gait Variability
- Motor Control Strategy
Irregular surface conditions, for instance, are present during trail walking. Modified treadmills can be used to produce such surface conditions in a laboratory environment . Walking on an irregular surface showed increased gait variability , which is regarded as a beneficial training stimulus . Thus, this study examined the effects of an unpredictable irregular surface (UIS) on lower limb biomechanics, locomotion variability, and subjective perception during treadmill walking.
Seventeen young, male, active participants walked at 5 km/h on a treadmill with predictable regular surface (PRS) and with UIS. The UIS was created by randomly attaching EVA dome shaped inserts (ط: 140 mm) of different height (10 mm and 15 mm) and hardness (40 and 70 Asker C) to the treadmill. In-shoe plantar pressures (200 Hz, Pedar X System, Novel, Germany), lower limb kinematics (200 Hz, Vicon Peak, United Kingdom), and EMG signals of five lower limb muscles (3000 Hz, Telemyo 2400 G2, Noraxon, USA) were recorded. Eight perception items were assessed subjectively (9-point Likert Scale). Biomechanical parameter mean magnitudes and mean standard deviations, as variability measure, of 16 steps were calculated. Variables were compared between surfaces by Wilcoxon signed rank tests (p<.05).
Magnitude (Mag) and variability (Var) of kinematic and EMG parameters, significant surface comparisons (PRS vs. UIS) indicated in bold.
Frontal plane ankle angle [deg]
Normalized muscle activity during stance [%]
On UIS, muscle specific motor control strategies were applied. Frontal plane stabilization effort of the ankle joint was consistently increased throughout all ground contacts. Sagittal ankle joint mobilization and/or stabilization depended on specific perturbation effects of single ground contacts. Walking on UIS induced a more variable gait, thus stimulating enhancement of motor control patterns, resembling a positive training mechanism .
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