Changes in Resultant Pedal Reaction Forces Due to Ankle Immobilization during Pedaling

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of limiting ankle motion on pedal forces. Sixteen adults pedaled an instrumented ergometer against constant cadence and frictional load while wearing hinged braces. Ankle motion was limited under four randomly assigned conditions: both braces unlocked (UL), only the preferred leg (PL) brace locked, only the nonpreferred leg (NPL) brace locked, and braces on both legs (BL) locked. Measurements of pedal force, crank, and pedal angles were sampled at 200/s for 20 s. With both braces locked, resultant force mean magnitude decreased during the downstroke, due to reduced radial crank force. Asymmetry between PL and NPL decreased during the power phase when only PL was braced but increased when only NPL was braced. It was concluded that constrained ankle motion, as may occur with ankle injury or hemiplegia, reduces the ability to transmit power during the downstroke while enhancing ability during the upstroke.

Cheryl D. Pierson-Carey was a graduate student at Samuel Merritt College, Oakland, CA, when this study was conducted. She is currently with the Department of Physical Therapy at Kaiser Permanente, Fremont, CA 94538. David A. Brown and Christine A. Dairaghi are with the Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, Veterans Affairs Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304. Direct correspondence to David A. Brown.

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