The effects of sloped surfaces on locomotion: An electromyo graphic analysis
ABSTRACT Investigations using quadrupeds have suggested that the motor programs used for slope walking differ from that used for level walking. This idea has not yet been explored in humans. The aim of this study was to use electromyographic (EMG) signals obtained during level and slope walking to complement previously published joint angle and joint moment data in elucidating such control strategies. Nine healthy volunteers walked on an instrumented ramp at each of five grades (-39%, -15%, 0%, +15%, +39%). EMG activity was recorded unilaterally from eight lower limb muscles (gluteus maximus (GM), rectus femoris (RF), vastus medialis (VM), biceps femoris (BF), semimembranosus (SM), soleus (Sol), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and tibialis anterior (TA)). The burst onset, duration, and mean activity were calculated for each burst in every trial. The burst characteristics were then averaged within each grade and subject and submitted to repeated measures ANOVAs to assess the effect of grade (alpha=0.05, a priori). Power production increased during upslope walking, as did the mean activity and burst durations of most muscles. In this case, the changes in muscle activity patterns were not predictable based on the changes in joint moments because of the activation of biarticular muscles as antagonists. During downslope walking power absorption increased, as did knee extensor activity (mean and duration) and the duration of the ankle plantarflexor activity. The changes in muscle activity during this task were directly related to the changes in joint moments. Collectively these data suggest that the nervous system uses different control strategies to successfully locomote on slopes, and that joint power requirements are an important factor in determining these control strategies.
- SourceAvailable from: Daniel Ferris[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We used a lower limb robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's muscle activity to study human locomotor adaptation to disrupted muscular coordination. Ten healthy subjects walked while wearing a pneumatically powered ankle exoskeleton on one limb that effectively increased plantar flexor strength of the soleus muscle. Soleus electromyography amplitude controlled plantar flexion assistance from the exoskeleton in real time. We hypothesized that subjects' gait kinematics would be initially distorted by the added exoskeleton power, but that subjects would reduce soleus muscle recruitment with practice to return to gait kinematics more similar to normal. We also examined the ability of subjects to recall their adapted motor pattern for exoskeleton walking by testing subjects on two separate sessions, 3 days apart. The mechanical power added by the exoskeleton greatly perturbed ankle joint movements at first, causing subjects to walk with significantly increased plantar flexion during stance. With practice, subjects reduced soleus recruitment by approximately 35% and learned to use the exoskeleton to perform almost exclusively positive work about the ankle. Subjects demonstrated the ability to retain the adapted locomotor pattern between testing sessions as evidenced by similar muscle activity, kinematic and kinetic patterns between the end of the first test day and the beginning of the second. These results demonstrate that robotic exoskeletons controlled by muscle activity could be useful tools for testing neural mechanisms of human locomotor adaptation.Journal of Biomechanics 02/2007; 40(12):2636-44. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.12.006 · 2.50 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study examined the impact of two common sizes of ballast on gait biomechanics. The terrain was designed to simulate a railroad work setting to investigate the variation in gait kinetics and muscle activation while walking. Research and epidemiology suggest a potential link between walking surface characteristics and injury. However, few studies have investigated the impact of ballast surfaces, which is a surface of interest in the railroad and construction industries, on gait dynamics. For this study, 20 healthy adult men walked along three distinct pathways (no ballast [NB], walking ballast [WB], and mainline ballast [MB]). WB and MB consisted of rock with an average size of 0.75 to I in. and 1.25 to 1.5 in., respectively. Full-body motion, ground reaction forces, and electromyographic (EMG) signals from lower extremity muscles were collected, and three dimensional joint moments were calculated. Parameters of interest were moment trajectories and ranges, EMG activity, and temporal gait measures. Joint-specific differences indicate significant variations between surface conditions. Joint moment ranges were generally smaller for MB and WB compared with NB. EMG activity, in particular, co-contraction levels, was found to be significantly greater on ballast compared with NB. Temporal gait parameters were significantly different for MB than for either WB or NB. Walking on ballast increases muscle activation to control the moments of the lower extremity joints. Application: The results suggest that ballast has an effect on muscles and joints; thus, the findings provide insight to improve and develop new work practices and methods for injury prevention.Human Factors The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 10/2010; 52(5):560-73. DOI:10.1177/0018720810381996 · 1.29 Impact Factor