Estimation of human ankle impedance during the stance phase of walking

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132 Scopus citations


Human joint impedance is the dynamic relationship between the differential change in the position of a perturbed joint and the corresponding response torque; it is a fundamental property that governs how humans interact with their environments. It is critical to characterize ankle impedance during the stance phase of walking to elucidate how ankle impedance is regulated during locomotion, as well as provide the foundation for future development of natural, biomimetic powered prostheses and their control systems. In this study, ankle impedance was estimated using a model consisting of stiffness, damping and inertia. Ankle torque was well described by the model, accounting for 98 ± 1.2% of the variance. When averaged across subjects, the stiffness component of impedance was found to increase linearly from 1.5 to 6.5 Nm/rad/kg between 20% and 70% of stance phase. The damping component was found to be statistically greater than zero only for the estimate at 70% of stance phase, with a value of 0.03 Nms/rad/kg. The slope of the ankle's torque-angle curve - known as the quasi-stiffness - was not statistically different from the ankle stiffness values, and showed remarkable similarity. Finally, using the estimated impedance, the specifications for a biomimetic powered ankle prosthesis were introduced that would accurately emulate human ankle impedance during locomotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6750034
Pages (from-to)870-878
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Biological system modeling
  • prosthetic limbs
  • quasi-stiffness
  • stiffness
  • system identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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