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Gait Posture. 2009 Jun;29(4):565-70. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2008.12.012. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Biomechanics of trailing leg response to slipping - evidence of interlimb and intralimb coordination.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


This gait study characterizes the trailing leg's biomechanical response to slips. Twenty-eight healthy participants divided into two age groups (20-33 years and 55-67 years) were asked to walk in two conditions: a known dry floor and a glycerol-contaminated floor expected to be dry, inducing an unexpected slip of the leading foot at heel contact. Four slip-related trailing leg response strategies were identified, ranging from a minimal disruption of the swing phase to a premature ( approximately 50 ms after toe off) interruption of the swing phase. Aging effects were minimal. The response of the leading/slipping leg preceded that of the trailing limb. The magnitude of the trailing leg's response was associated with that of the knee in the leading/slipping leg, suggesting interlimb coordination. The corrective moment at the knee of the trailing leg was also correlated with that measured at the hip in the same leg, suggesting intralimb coordination. The specific trailing leg's strategy used in a slip is partially determined by pre-slip walking patterns and early stance slip dynamics.

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