Walking Strategies During the Transition Between Level and Hill Surfaces

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Healthy young adults transition between level and hill surfaces of various angles while walking at fluctuating speeds. These surface transitions have the potential to decrease dynamic balance in both the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions. Hence, the purpose of the current study was to analyze modifications in temporal-spatial parameters during hill walking transitions. We hypothesized that in comparison with level walking, the transition strides would indicate the adoption of a distinct gait strategy with a greater base of support. Thirty-four participants completed level and hill trials on a walkway with a 15-degree portable ramp apparatus. We collected data during 4 transition strides between level and ramp surfaces. In support of our hypothesis, compared with level walking, the base of support was 20% greater during 3 out of the 4 transition strides. In short, our results illustrate that healthy young adults did adopt a distinct gait strategy different from both level and hill walking during transitions strides.

Jinger S. Gottschall (Corresponding Author), Dmitri Y. Okorokov, Noriaki Okita, and Keith A. Stern are with the Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.