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J Mot Behav. 2001 Jun;33(2):180-92.

Development of lower extremity kinetics for balance control in infants and young children.

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Department of Exercise Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, USA.


Developmental changes in the kinematics and kinetics underlying balance control were studied in 61 children, 9 months to 10 years of age. The children were classified according to developmental milestones as standers; new, intermediate, and advanced walkers; runners-jumpers; hoppers; gallopers; and skippers. The children experienced support-surface translations of varying size and speed. Children with greater locomotor experience withstood larger balance threats without collapsing or stepping. Analyses of scaled trials (perturbations normalized in size to foot length and center of gravity height) revealed that improvement in balance was not related to initial configuration parameters surrounding the task (degree of crouch or lean). Children with advanced locomotor skills had faster recovery times and relatively larger muscle torques than children with less experience. Relative torque-time histories of the more experienced children began to match the adult response to similar perturbations. With increased experience and changing muscle torque regulatory abilities, balance skills became more robust.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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