The primary purpose of this project was to examine whether lower extremity joint kinetic factors are related to the walk–run gait transition during human locomotion. Following determination of the preferred transition speed (PTS), each of the 16 subjects walked down a 25-m runway, and over a floor-mounted force platform at five speeds (70, 80, 90, 100, and 110% of the PTS), and ran over the force platform at three speeds (80, 100, and 120% of the PTS) while being videotaped (240 Hz) from the right sagittal plane. Two-dimensional kinematic data were synchronized with ground reaction force data (960 Hz). After smoothing, ankle and knee joint moments and powers were calculated using standard inverse dynamics calculations. The maximum dorsiflexor moment was the only variable tested that increased as walking speed increased and then decreased when gait changed to a run at the PTS, meeting the criteria set to indicate that this variable influences the walk–run gait transition during human locomotion. This supports previous research suggesting that an important factor in changing gaits at the PTS is the prevention of undue stress in the dorsiflexor muscles.
Hreljac, Imamura, and MacLeod are with the Department of Kinesiology & Health Science, California State University, Sacramento; Escamilla is with the Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento; and W. Brent Edwards is with the Department of Health and Human Performance, Iowa State University.