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  • Author: Elizabeth M. Husson x
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Pawel R. Golyski, Elizabeth M. Bell, Elizabeth M. Husson, Erik J. Wolf and Brad D. Hendershot

Given its apparent representation of cumulative (vs peak) loads, this feasibility study investigates vertical ground reaction impulse (vGRI) as a real-time biofeedback variable for gait training aimed at reducing lower limb loading. Fifteen uninjured participants (mean age = 27 y) completed 12 2-min trials, 1 at each combination of 4 walking speeds (1.0, 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 m/s) and 3 targeted reductions in vGRI (5, 10, and 15%) of the assigned (“target”) limb, with the latter specified relative to an initial baseline (no feedback) condition at each speed. The ability to achieve targeted reductions was assessed using step-by-step errors between measured and targeted vGRI. Mean (SD) errors were 5.2% (3.7%); these were larger with faster walking speeds but consistent across reduction targets. Secondarily, we evaluated the strategy used to modulate reductions (ie, stance time or peak vertical ground reaction force [vGRF]) and the resultant influences on knee joint loading (external knee adduction moment [EKAM]). On the targeted limb, stance times decreased (P < .001) with increasing reduction target; first and second peaks in vGRF were similar (P > .104) across all target conditions. While these alterations did not significantly reduce EKAM on the target limb, future work in patients with knee pathologies is warranted.