How do low horizontal forces produce disproportionately high torques in human locomotion?

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul DeVita (Creator)
Joseph Helseth (Creator)
Tibor Hortobagyi (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Although horizontal ground forces are only ~15% of vertical forces they account for 47% and 33% of the metabolic cost in walking and running. To explain these disproportionately high metabolic costs we hypothesized that low horizontal ground forces generate relatively high torques on body segments during locomotion and this is mediated by long moment arms. We compared external force moment arms and discreet torques applied to the body segments by horizontal and vertical forces during walking and running. Sixteen subjects (21.9 ± 1.9 years) walked at 1.5 m/s and 10 subjects (23.2 ± 2.0 years) ran at 3.83 m/s. Segmental torques in the sagittal plane were partitioned into omponents due to horizontal and vertical forces and quantified by their angular impulses. The mean (±S.E.) ratios of horizontal to vertical ground forces (GF ratio) and angular impulses (AI ratio) in walking were 0.131 (±0.003 95% C.I. 0.124 to 0.137) and 0.530 (±0.018 C.I. 0.497 to 0.569). Results were similar in running. In both gaits the AI ratios were significantly greater than the GF ratios because the respective C.I.s did not overlap. The horizontal forces produced 53% and 41% as much angular impulse on the body segments as did the vertical forces in walking and running despite being only 13% as large. In the two movements the moment arms for the horizontal forces averaged across foot leg thigh and trunk body segments were 3.8 fold larger than those for the vertical forces. The data supported the hypothesis and suggest that the relatively low horizontal vs vertical forces accounted for a disproportionately higher percentage of the angular impulses placed on the body segments and this effect was due to relatively long moment arms for horizontal forces. These results artially explain the relatively large metabolic cost of generating relatively low horizontal forces. Originally published Journal of Biomechanics Vol. 41 No. 8 2008

Additional Information

Journal of Biomechanics. 41:8(2008) p. 1747-1753.
Language: English
Date: 2011
walking and running biomechanics, ground force, inverse dynamics, metabolic cost

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