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Gait Posture. 2007 Feb;25(2):172-8. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

The influence of gait speed on local dynamic stability of walking.

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Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratories, Department of Engineering Science & Mechanics, School of Biomedical Engineering & Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, 219 Norris Hall (0219), Blacksburg, VA 24061, United States.


The focus of this study was to examine the role of walking velocity in stability during normal gait. Local dynamic stability was quantified through the use of maximum finite-time Lyapunov exponents, lambda(Max). These quantify the rate of attenuation of kinematic variability of joint angle data recorded as subjects walked on a motorized treadmill at 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% of the Froude velocity. A monotonic trend between lambda(Max) and walking velocity was observed with smaller lambda(Max) at slower walking velocities. Smaller lambda(Max) indicates more stable walking dynamics. This trend was evident whether stride duration variability remained or was removed by time normalizing the data. This suggests that slower walking velocities lead to increases in stability. These results may reveal more detailed information on the behavior of the neuro-controller than variability-based analyses alone.

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