Center of mass velocity-based predictions in balance recovery following pelvis perturbations during human walking

M Vlutters, EHF van Asseldonk, Herman van der Kooij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

In many simple walking models, foot placement dictates the center of pressure location and ground reaction force components, whereas humans can modulate these aspects after foot contact. Because of the differences, it is unclear to what extent predictions made by models are valid for human walking. Yet, both model simulations and human experimental data have previously indicated that the center of mass (COM) velocity plays an important role in regulating stable walking. Here, perturbed human walking was studied to determine the relationship of the horizontal COM velocity at heel strike and toe-off with the foot placement location relative to the COM, the forthcoming center of pressure location relative to the COM, and the ground reaction forces. Ten healthy subjects received mediolateral and anteroposterior pelvis perturbations of various magnitudes at toe-off, during 0.63 and 1.25 m s−1 treadmill walking. At heel strike after the perturbation, recovery from mediolateral perturbations involved mediolateral foot placement adjustments proportional to the mediolateral COM velocity. In contrast, for anteroposterior perturbations, no significant anteroposterior foot placement adjustment occurred at this heel strike. However, in both directions the COM velocity at heel strike related linearly to the center of pressure location at the subsequent toe-off. This relationship was affected by the walking speed and was, for the slow speed, in line with a COM velocity-based control strategy previously applied by others in a linear inverted pendulum model. Finally, changes in gait phase durations suggest that the timing of actions could play an important role during the perturbation recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1514-1523
JournalThe Journal of Experimental Biology
Volume219
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Human balance
  • Perturbed walking
  • Foot placement
  • Extrapolated center of mass
  • Capture point

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