A novel Movement Amplification environment reveals effects of controlling lateral centre of mass motion on gait stability and metabolic cost

Mengnan Mary Wu*, Geoffrey L. Brown, Jane L. Woodward, Sjoerd M. Bruijn, Keith E. Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

During human walking, the centre of mass (COM) laterally oscillates, regularly transitioning its position above the two alternating support limbs. To maintain upright forward-directed walking, lateral COM excursion should remain within the base of support, on average. As necessary, humans can modify COM motion through various methods, including foot placement. How the nervous system controls these oscillations and the costs associated with control are not fully understood. To examine how lateral COM motions are controlled, healthy participants walked in a 'Movement Amplification' force field that increased lateral COM momentum in a manner dependent on the participant's own motion (forces were applied to the pelvis proportional to and in the same direction as lateral COM velocity). We hypothesized that metabolic cost to control lateral COM motion would increase with the gain of the field. In the Movement Amplification field, participants were significantly less stable than during baseline walking. Stability significantly decreased as the field gain increased. Participants also modified gait patterns, including increasing step width, which increased the metabolic cost of transport as the field gain increased. These results support previous research suggesting that humans modulate foot placement to control lateral COM motion, incurring a metabolic cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number190889
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Centre of mass control
  • Locomotion
  • Metabolic cost
  • Movement Amplification
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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