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Saunders N. Whittlesey and Joseph Hamill

An alternative to the Iterative Newton-Euler or linked segment model was developed to compute lower extremity joint moments using the mechanics of the double pendulum. The double pendulum model equations were applied to both the swing and stance phases of locomotion. Both the Iterative Newton-Euler and double pendulum models computed virtually identical joint moment data over the entire stride cycle. The double pendulum equations, however, also included terms for other mechanical factors acting on limb segments, namely hip acceleration and segment angular velocities and accelerations Thus, the exact manners in which the lower extremity segments interacted with each other could be quantified throughout the gait cycle. The linear acceleration of the hip and the angular acceleration of the thigh played comparable roles to muscular actions during both swing and stance.

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Shane R. Wurdeman, Jessie M. Huisinga, Mary Filipi and Nicholas Stergiou

Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have less-coordinated movements of the center of mass resulting in greater mechanical work. The purpose of this study was to quantify the work performed on the body’s center of mass by patients with MS. It was hypothesized that patients with MS would perform greater negative work during initial double support and less positive work in terminal double support. Results revealed that patients with MS perform less negative work in single support and early terminal double support and less positive work in the terminal double support period. However, summed over the entire stance phase, patients with MS and healthy controls performed similar amounts of positive and negative work on the body’s center of mass. The altered work throughout different periods in the stance phase may be indicative of a failure to capitalize on passive elastic energy mechanisms and increased reliance upon more active work generation to sustain gait.

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Daniel S. Rooks, Bernard J. Ransil and Wilson C. Hayes

The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of 16 weeks of self-paced resistance training or walking protocols on neuromotor and functional parameters in active, community-dwelling older adults. Twenty-two sequentially recruited older adults were randomly assigned to one of two exercise groups: self-paced resistance training and self-paced walking. Static and dynamic balance, upper and lower extremity reaction times, muscle strength, and stairclimbing speed were measured before and immediately after 16 weeks of exercise. Preliminary data showed that 16 weeks of self-paced. progressive, lower body resistance training improved balance (one-legged stance with eyes open, 68%). reaction time (10%), muscle strength (160%), and stair climbing speed (28%), while a self-paced walking program improved balance (one-legged stance with eyes open, 51%), stair climbing speed (16%), and in certain circumstances muscle strength (25%), in active, community-dwelling older adults.

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M. Monda, A. Goldberg, P. Smitham, M. Thornton and I. McCarthy

To study mobility in older populations it can be advantageous to use portable gait analysis systems, such as inertial measurement units (IMUs), which can be used in the community. To define a normal range, 136 active subjects were recruited with an age range of 18 to 97. Four IMUs were attached to the subjects, one on each thigh and shank. Subjects were asked to walk 10 m at their own self-selected speed. The ranges of motion of thigh, shank, and knee in both swing and stance phase were calculated, in addition to stride duration. Thigh, shank, and knee range of movement in swing and stance were significantly different only in the > 80 age group. Regressions of angle against age showed a cubic relationship. Stride duration showed a weak linear relationship with age, increasing by approximately 0.1% per year.

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Nicolas Vuillerme, Ludovic Marin and Bettina Debû

This study evaluated stance control in 24 teenagers with and without Down syndrome (DS) by (a) assessing center of foot pressure variables under different conditions of availability of visual and somatosensory inputs and (b) analyzing postural perturbation and adaptation following abrupt changes in visual information. Results showed no gender-related differences in either group. Group comparison revealed similar strategies in adolescents with and without DS, although quantitative differences may exist in the ability to integrate sensory inputs to control stance. Adaptation to changing environmental conditions varied greatly from one individual to another in the two groups. Finally, comparison of the two experiments suggests that the increased postural oscillations reported for the sample with DS on long lasting recordings could be related to insufficient allocation of cognitive resources in stable environments.

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Kristen K. Maughan, Kristin A. Lowry, Warren D. Franke and Ann L. Smiley-Oyen

A 6-wk group balance-training program was conducted with physically active older adults (based on American College of Sports Medicine requirements) to investigate the effect of dose-related static and dynamic balance-specific training. All participants, age 60–87 yr, continued their regular exercise program while adding balance training in 1 of 3 doses: three 20-min sessions/wk (n = 20), one 20-min session/wk (n = 21), or no balance training (n = 19). Static balance (single-leg-stance, tandem), dynamic balance (alternate stepping, limits of stability), and balance confidence (ABC) were assessed pre- and posttraining. Significant interactions were observed for time in single-leg stance, excursion in limits of stability, and balance confidence, with the greatest increase observed in the group that completed 3 training sessions/wk. The results demonstrate a dose-response relationship indicating that those who are already physically active can improve balance performance with the addition of balance-specific training.

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Monika Thomas and Michael Kalicinski

The present study investigated whether slackline training enhances postural control in older adults. Twenty-four participants were randomized into an intervention and a control group. The intervention group received 6 weeks of slackline training, two times per week. Pre–post measurement included the time of different standing positions on a balance platform with and without an external disturbance and the acceleration of the balance platform. Results showed significantly improved standing times during one-leg stance without external disturbance and a significantly reduced acceleration of the balance platform for the intervention group after the training period during tandem stance with and without an external disturbance. We conclude that slackline training in older adults has a positive impact on postural control and thus on the reduction of fall risk.

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Jay Hertel, Craig R. Denegar, W.E. Buckley, Neil A. Sharkey and Wayne L. Stokes

Objective:

To identify changes in sagittal- and frontal-plane center of pressure (COP) excursion length and velocity during single-leg stance under 6 orthotic conditions.

Design:

1 × 6 repeated-measures.

Setting:

University biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

Fifteen healthy young adults without excessive forefoot, arch, or rear-foot malalignments.

Measurements:

Selected variables of COP length and velocity were calculated in both the frontal and sagittal planes during three 5-second trials of quiet unilateral stance.

Methods:

Postural control was assessed under 6 conditions: shoe only and 5 orthotics.

Results:

The medially posted orthotic caused the least frontal COP length and velocity, and the Cramer Sprained Ankle Orthotic® caused the greatest frontal-plane sway. No significant differences were found between the different orthotic conditions in sagittal-plane measures.

Conclusions:

Differently posted rear-foot orthotics had various effects on frontal-plane postural control in healthy participants. Further research is needed on pathological populations.

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Giorgos Sofianidis, Vassilia Hatzitaki, Stella Douka and Giorgos Grouios

This preliminary study examined the effect of a 10-wk traditional Greek dance program on static and dynamic balance indices in healthy elderly adults. Twenty-six community-dwelling older adults were randomly assigned to either an intervention group who took supervised Greek traditional dance classes for 10 wk (1 hr, 2 sessions/week, n = 14), or a control group (n = 12). Balance was assessed pre- and postintervention by recording the center-of-pressure (COP) variations and trunk kinematics during performance of the Sharpened-Romberg test, 1-leg (OL) stance, and dynamic weight shifting (WS). After practice, the dance group significantly decreased COP displacement and trunk sway in OL stance. A significant increase in the range of trunk rotation was noted during performance of dynamic WS in the sagittal and frontal planes. These findings support the use of traditional dance as an effective means of physical activity for improving static and dynamic balance control in the elderly.

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Gulcan Harput, A. Ruhi Soylu, Hayri Ertan, Nevin Ergun and Carl G. Mattacola

Context:

Coactivation ratio of quadriceps to hamstring muscles (Q:H) and medial to lateral knee muscles (M:L) contributes to the dynamic stability of the knee joint during movement patterns recommended during rehabilitation and important for daily function.

Objective:

To compare the quadriceps-to-hamstring and medial-to-lateral knee muscles' coactivation ratios between men and women during the following closed kinetic chain exercises performed on a balance board: forward lunge, side lunge, single-leg stance, and single-leg squat.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Participants:

20 healthy subjects (10 female and 10 male).

Main Outcome Measures:

Surface electromyography was used to measure the activation level of quadriceps (vastus lateralis and medialis) and hamstrings (biceps femoris and medial hamstrings) during forward- and side-lunge, single-leg-stance, and single-leg-squat exercises. Subjects were instructed during each exercise to move into the test position and to hold that position for 15 s. EMG was recorded during the 15-s isometric period where subjects tried to maintain a “set” position while the foot was on a balance board. Analysis of variance was used for statistical analysis.

Results:

There was a significant exercise-by-gender interaction for Q:H ratio (F 3,48 = 6.63, P = .001), but the exercise-by-gender interaction for M:L ratio was not significant (F 3,48 = 1.67, P = .18). Women showed larger Q:H ratio in side-lunge exercises than men (P = .002). Both genders showed larger M:L and lower Q:H ratio in a single-leg-stance exercise than in the other exercises.

Conclusions:

The results indicate that the forward- and side-lunge and single-leg-squat exercises should not be recommended as exercise where a balanced coactivation between quadriceps and hamstring muscles is warranted. Single-leg-stance exercise could be used when seeking an exercise where the ratio is balanced for both women and men.