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J Appl Biomech. 2012 Dec;28(6):738-45. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Walking strategies change with distance from hill transition and scale with hill angle.

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Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.


Individuals must constantly modify their gait patterns to safely transition between different surfaces. The goal of the current study was to determine if gait changes could be detected two steps from a transition, and whether these changes scaled with the angle of the hill. We hypothesized that during the anticipation of uphill walking and the aftereffect of downhill walking, the magnitude of kinetic and electromyography changes would be greatest at steep hill angles and fewer steps from the transition. We collected force and electromyography data as participants walked on the level ground before an uphill ramp and after a downhill ramp. As hypothesized, there were significant main effects for both the number of steps and angle of the hill for the first vertical GRF peak, as well as lateral gastrocnemius and vastus lateralis activity. Overall, our results indicate that when transitioning to and from hills, anticipation and aftereffect responses occur at least two steps from the transition and are scaled to the angle of the hill.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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