Influence of an unexpected perturbation on adaptive gait behavior

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher K. Rhea, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: During locomotion over uneven terrain, gait must be adapted to avoid a trip. In the event of a foot-obstacle contact, the body reactively responds to the perturbation. However, it is unknown if any proactive adjustments are made in subsequent strides to reduce the likelihood of another contact, and how long any proactive adaptations persist. This study examined gait behavior while stepping over a 10 cm obstacle placed in the middle of an 8 m walkway. The four obstacle crossings that preceded a spontaneous obstacle contact were compared to the eight obstacle crossings subsequent to the contact. Foot position before the obstacle was not modified following the obstacle contact. However, toe clearance and peak toe elevation increased in the limb that was tripped; the unperturbed limb showed no differences. These findings demonstrate that the sensory information of the perturbed limb proactively influenced the ipsilateral but not the contralateral limb, supporting the idea that the lead and trail limb are controlled independently during obstacle crossing. The proactive adaptation lasted for at least eight trials, suggesting that an unexpected perturbation influences the control of adaptive gait well after obstacle contact.

Additional Information

Gait & Posture, 34(3), 439-441.
Language: English
Date: 2011
Gait, Adaptive gait, Biomechanics, Perturbation

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