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Joanna Scurr, Jennifer White and Wendy Hedger

This study aimed to assess the trajectory of breast displacement in 3 dimensions during walking and running gait, as this may improve bra design and has yet to be reported. Fifteen D-cup participants had reflective markers attached to their nipples and trunk to monitor absolute and relative breast displacement during treadmill walking (5 kph) and running (10 kph). During the gait cycle, the breast followed a figure-of-eight pattern with four movement phases. Despite a time lag in resultant breast displacement compared with the trunk, similar values of breast displacement were identified across each of the four phases. Fifty-six percent of overall breast movement was vertical, suggesting that 3-D assessment and the elimination of trunk movement in 6 degrees of freedom are essential to accurately report breast displacement during the gait cycle.

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Pui W. Kong and Norma G. Candelaria

This study aimed to 1) determine the suitability of using spanning set (SS) to measure knee angle variability in the entire gait cycle and 2) assess the sensitivity of SS magnitude to the order of polynomial fitted to the standard deviation (SD) curves of the mean ensemble curves. Eight runners performed 10 over-ground barefoot running trials, followed by 8 min of accommodation, and then another 10 trials. Knee angle variabilities before and after accommodation were assessed using the SS and two conventional methods: mean coefficient of variation and mean SD. The sensitivity of the SS magnitude was assessed by calculating SS using (n–2), (n–1), (n+1), and (n+2)th orders of polynomials, where nth is the best fit order. Variability decreased after accommodation using the conventional methods (p < .05) but not the SS. The SS magnitude was sensitive to the order of polynomial. It is concluded that the SS may not be appropriate for measuring knee kinematic variability in the entire gait cycle during over-ground barefoot running.

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Ugo H. Buzzi and Beverly D. Ulrich

The purpose of this study was to examine the dynamic stability of two groups of children with different dynamic resources in changing contexts. The stability of the lower extremity segments of preadolescent children (8–10 years old) with and without Down syndrome (DS) was evaluated as children walked on a motorized treadmill at varying speeds. Tools from nonlinear dynamics, maximum Lyapunov exponent, and approximate entropy were used to assess the behavioral stability of segmental angular displacements of the thigh, shank, and foot. Our results suggest that children with DS show decreased dynamic stability during walking in all segments and that this might be a consequence of inherently different subsystem constraints between these groups. Differences between groups also varied, though not uniformly, with speed, suggesting that inherent differences could further constrain the behavioral response to changing task demands.

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Jordan Santos-Concejero, Jesús Oliván, José L. Maté-Muñoz, Carlos Muniesa, Marta Montil, Ross Tucker and Alejandro Lucia

Purpose:

This study aimed to determine whether biomechanical characteristics such as ground-contact time, swing time, and stride length and frequency contribute to the exceptional running economy of East African runners.

Methods:

Seventeen elite long-distance runners (9 Eritrean, 8 European) performed an incremental maximal running test and 3 submaximal running bouts at 17, 19, and 21 km/h. During the tests, gas-exchange parameters were measured to determine maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and running economy (RE). In addition, ground-contact time, swing time, stride length, and stride frequency were measured.

Results:

The European runners had higher VO2max values than the Eritrean runners (77.2 ± 5.2 vs 73.5 ± 6.0 mL · kg−1 · min−1, P = .011, effect sizes [ES] = 0.65), although Eritrean runners were more economical at 19 km/h (191.4 ± 10.4 vs 205.9 ± 13.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1, P = .026, ES = 1.21). There were no differences between groups for ground-contact time, swing time, stride length, or stride frequency at any speed. Swing time was associated with running economy at 21 km/h in the Eritrean runners (r = .71, P = .033), but no other significant association was found between RE and biomechanical variables. Finally, best 10-km performance was significantly correlated with RE (r = –.57; P = .013).

Conclusions:

Eritrean runners have superior RE compared with elite European runners. This appears to offset their inferior VO2max. However, the current data suggest that their better RE does not have a biomechanical basis. Other factors, not measured in the current study, may contribute to this RE advantage.

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Oren Tirosh and W.A. Sparrow

Analysis of human gait requires accurate measurement of foot-ground contact, often determined using either foot-ground reaction force thresholds or kinematic data. This study examined the differences in calculating event times across five vertical force thresholds and validated a vertical acceleration-based algorithm as a measure of heel contact and toe-off. The experiment also revealed the accuracy in determining heel contact and toe-off when raw displacement/time data were smoothed using a range of digital filter cutoff frequencies. Four healthy young participants completed 10 walking trials: 5 at normal speed (1.2 m/s) and 5 at fast speed (1.8 m/s). A 3D optoelectric system was synchronized with a forceplate to measure the times when vertical force exceeded (heel contact) or fell below (toe-off) 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 N. These were then compared and subsequently used to validate an acceleration-based method for calculating heel contact and toe-off with the displacement/time data filtered across a range of four cutoff frequencies. Linear regression analyses showed that during both normal and fast walking, any force threshold within 0 to 50 N could be used to predict heel-contact time. For estimating toe-off low force thresholds, 10 N or less should be used. When raw data were filtered with the optimal cutoff frequency, the absolute value (AbsDt) of the difference between the forceplate event times obtained using a 10-N threshold and the event times of heel contact and toe-off using the acceleration-based algorithms revealed average AbsDt of 10.0 and 16.5 ms for normal walking, and 7.4 and 13.5 ms for fast walking. Data smoothing with the non-optimal cutoff frequencies influenced the event times computed by the algorithms and produced greater AbsDt values. Optimal data filtering procedures are, therefore, essential for ensuring accurate measures of heel contact and toe-off when using the acceleration-based algorithms.

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Adam E. Jagodinsky, Christopher Wilburn, Nick Moore, John W. Fox and Wendi H. Weimar

, right preferred CAI target limb was matched with right preferred target limbs for coper and healthy groups). The preferred limb was determined by asking each participant which limb was preferred to kick a ball. For each trial, data from one complete gait cycle on the target limb (stance and swing phases) were

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André G. P. Andrade, Janaine C. Polese, Leopoldo A. Paolucci, Hans-Joachim K. Menzel and Luci F. Teixeira-Salmela

Lower extremity kinetic data during walking of 12 people with chronic poststroke were reanalyzed, using functional analysis of variance (FANOVA). To perform the FANOVA, the whole curve is represented by a mathematical function, which spans the whole gait cycle and avoids the need to identify isolated points, as required for traditional parametric analyses of variance (ANOVA). The power variables at the ankle, knee, and hip joints, in the sagittal plane, were compared between two conditions: With and without walking sticks at comfortable and fast speeds. For the ankle joint, FANOVA demonstrated increases in plantar flexion power generation during 60–80% of the gait cycle between fast and comfortable speeds with the use of walking sticks. For the knee joint, the use of walking sticks resulted in increases in the knee extension power generation during 10–30% of the gait cycle. During both speeds, the use of walking sticks resulted in increased power generation by the hip extensors and flexors during 10–30% and 40–70% of the gait cycle, respectively. These findings demonstrated the benefits of applying the FANOVA approach to improve the knowledge regarding the effects of walking sticks on gait biomechanics and encourage its use within other clinical contexts.

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Louis A. DiBerardino III, Chantal A. Ragetly, Sungjin Hong, Dominique J. Griffon and Elizabeth T. Hsiao-Wecksler

The regions of deviation method has been proposed as a technique for identifying regions of the gait cycle where joint motion deviates from normal (Shorter et al., 2008). The original statistical analysis distinguished only peak values during stance and swing. In the current article, we extend the approach by examining deviations from normal throughout the entire gait cycle using pointwise t tests. These methods were demonstrated on hind-limb joint angles of 21 Labrador Retrievers without and with cranial cruciate ligament disease. Results were compared with peak difference analysis previously performed on these subjects. All points in the gait cycle where symmetry deviations were significantly affected by cranial cruciate ligament disease (via pointwise t tests) were defined as regions of deviation from symmetry. Discriminant function analysis was used to consider single subjects and validate that these regions were truly areas of difference between groups. Regions of deviation encompassed previously determined significant peak differences, while extending analysis to additional areas of asymmetry. Discriminant function analysis suggested that the region of deviation method is a viable approach for distinguishing motion pattern differences. This enhanced method may help researchers better understand the mechanisms behind lameness and compensation.

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Kelly Ohm and Michael E. Hahn

Gait termination can be challenging for balance-impaired populations, including lower limb amputees. As powered prosthetic ankle devices come to market, it is important to better understand gait termination timing in an unplanned situation. Timing patterns were examined in unplanned gait termination to determine a threshold for being able to terminate gait in 1 step. Time to terminate gait (TTG) was also examined, using both final heel strike and center of mass (COM) acceleration metrics. Fourteen able-bodied subjects walked over ground and terminated gait in response to a randomly-timed auditory stimulus. A lumbarmounted accelerometer and footswitches were used to assess timing of gait termination. Subjects were able to terminate gait in 1 step if the stimulus occurred at or before 19.8% of gait cycle. Later stimulus resulted in a 2-step stop pattern. The TTG using COM acceleration was greater than when using heel strike data. Motion of the COM was not fully arrested until 162 ± 38% of gait cycle. The stabilization phase between heel strike and COM motion arrest was greater for 1-step stops (1.41 ± 0.42 s) than 2-step stops (0.96 ± 0.33 s). These findings indicate gait termination timing should be calculated using COM motion, including the stabilization phase post heel strike.

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Claire Waldock, Nick Milne, Jonas Rubenson and Cyril Jon Donnelly

This study attempts to apply geometric morphometric techniques for the analysis of 3D kinematic marker-based gait data. As a test, we attempted to identify sexual dimorphism during the stance phase of the gait cycle. Two techniques were used to try to identify differences in the way males and females walk without the results being affected by individual differences in body shape and size. Twenty-eight kinematic markers were placed on the torso and legs of 6 male and 8 female subjects, and the 3D time varying coordinates of the kinematic markers were recorded. The gait cycle trials were time-normalized to 61 frames representing the stance phase of gait, and the change in the shape of the configuration of kinematic markers was analyzed using principal components analysis to produce ‘gait signatures’ that characterize the kinematics of each individual. The variation in the gait signatures was analyzed with a further principal components analysis. These methods were able to detect significant sexual dimorphism even after the effects of sexual body shape and size differences were factored out. We discuss insights gained from performing this study which may be of value to others attempting to apply geometric morphometric methods to motion analysis.