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This study was conducted to investigate whether adding mass to subjects’ feet affects the preferred transition speed (PTS), and to ascertain whether selected swing phase variables (maximum ankle dorsiflexion angular velocity, angular acceleration, joint moment, and joint power) are determinants of the PTS, based upon four previously established criteria. After the PTS of 24 healthy active male subjects was found, using an incremental protocol in loaded (2 kg mass added to each shoe) and unloaded (shoes only) conditions, subjects walked at three speeds (60%, 80%, and 100% of PTS) and ran at one speed (100% of PTS) on a motor-driven treadmill while relevant data were collected. The PTS of the unloaded condition (2.03 ± 0.12 m/s) was significantly greater (P < .05) than the PTS of the loaded condition (1.94 ± 0.13 m/s). Within both load conditions, all dependent variables increased significantly with walking speed, decreased significantly when gait changed to a run, and were assumed to provide the necessary input to signal a gait transition, fulfilling the requirements of the first three criteria, but only ankle angular velocity reached a critical level before the transition, satisfying all four criteria to be considered a determinant of the PTS.
Toran D. MacLeod (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California–San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, and with the Kinesiology and Health Science Department, California State University, Sacramento, CA. Alan Hreljac and Rodney Imamura are with the Kinesiology and Health Science Department, California State University, Sacramento, CA.