Control of foot trajectory in human locomotion: Role of ground contact forces in simulated reduced gravity

Y. P. Ivanenko, R. Grasso, V. Macellari, F. Lacquaniti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We studied the changes of vertical contact forces, lower limb kinematics, and electromyographic activity (EMG) at different speeds and gravitational loads. To this end healthy subjects were asked to walk on a motorized treadmill while the percentage of body weight unloaded (body weight support, BWS) was modified in steps by means of a well-characterized unloading system. BWS was set at 0, 35, 50, 75, 95, or 100% of body weight. Walking speed was 0.7, 1.1, 2, 3, or 5 km/h. We found that changing BWS between 0 and 95% resulted in drastic changes of kinetic parameters but in limited changes of the kinematic coordination. In particular, the peak vertical contact forces decreased proportionally to BWS; at 95%-BWS they were 20-fold smaller than at 0% and were applied at the forefoot only. Also, there were considerable changes of the amplitude of EMG activity of all tested lower limb muscles and a complex re-organization of the pattern of activity of thigh muscles. By contrast, the corresponding variation of the parameters that describe shape and variability of the foot path was very limited, always

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3070-3089
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume87
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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