Gait strategies to reduce the dynamic joint load in the lower limbs during a loading response in young healthy adults
Abstract Reducing external joint moments during gait can lead to a reduction in dynamic joint load. There has yet to be a detailed investigation of gait strategies that can reduce external joint moments by decreasing the magnitude of ground reaction force (GRF) without reducing the walking speed. The objectives of this study were to verify whether it is possible to reduce external joint moments by decreasing the GRF magnitude without reducing the walking speed and to identify the alternative walking strategy involved in young healthy adults. This study included 14 young healthy subjects. They performed two types of walking: normal and impact reduction walking. For impact reduction walking, the subjects walked in a manner that reduced the impact upon foot contact. Cadence and step length were unified between the two conditions. The walking speed, peak value of vertical GRF, braking-accelerating force, loading rate, joint angle, and external joint moments of the two conditions were recorded and compared. No significant difference was noted in the walking speed. However, the first peak of vertical GRF, braking force, and loading rate during loading response were significantly reduced during impact reduction walking, and external joint moments in the hip, knee, and ankle joints were reduced. In contrast, the second peak of vertical GRF, hip extension angle, and external ankle dorsiflexion moment were significantly increased during terminal stance. Our data imply that the ankle joint function during the terminal stance is important in reducing the dynamic joint load in the contralateral leg during the loading response.
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