This study examined how the central nervous system organizes mediolateral (ML) “anticipatory postural adjustments” (APAs) for stepping initiation (SI) to take into account the postural perturbation induced by voluntary lateral arm raising. Subjects purposely stepped in isolation (“isolated stepping”) or in combination with lateral raising of dominant arm (“motor sequence”). SI was carried out with the leg ipsilateral or controlateral to raising arm. Results showed that APA amplitude increased from “ipsilateral isolated stepping” to “ipsilateral sequence”, but did not change in conditions involving controlateral leg; ML instability increased from “ipsilateral isolated stepping” to “ipsilateral sequence”, but decreased from “controlateral isolated stepping” to “controlateral sequence”. These changes were exacerbated when inertia was added at the hand during raising. These results suggest that APAs for SI are globally scaled as a function of the biomechanical consequences of forthcoming arm movement on ML postural stability.
The authors are with Laboratory CIAMS, Team RIME, UFR STAPS, University of Paris-Sud, Orsay Cedex, France.