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J Biomech. 2001 Nov;34(11):1439-45.

Lower extremity corrective reactions to slip events.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Eye and Ear Institute Building, Room 153, 203 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


A significant number of injuries in the workplace is attributed to slips and falls. Biomechanical responses to actual slip events determine whether the outcome of a slip will be recovery or a fall. The goal of this study was to examine lower extremity joint moments and postural adjustments for experimental evidence of corrective strategies evoked during slipping in an attempt to prevent falling. Sixteen subjects walked onto a possibly oily vinyl tile floor, while ground reaction forces and body motion were recorded at 350 Hz. The onset of corrective reactions by the body in an attempt to recover from slips became evident at about 25% of stance and continued until about 45% into stance, i.e. on average between 190 and 350 ms after heel contact. These reactions included increased flexion moment at the knee and extensor activity at the hip. The ankle, on the other hand, acted as a passive joint (no net moment) during fall trials. Joint kinematics showed increased knee flexion and forward rotation of the shank in an attempt to bring the foot back towards the body. Once again, the ankle kinematics appeared to play a less dominant role (compared to the knee) in recovery attempts. This study indicates that humans generate corrective reactions to slips that are different than previously reported responses to standing perturbations translating the supporting surface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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