Dynamic walking applied to clinical gait pathologies

March 2, 2010
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine Vol 27 No 3, Volume 27, Issue 3

A healthy gait pattern is based on an array of biomechanical features orchestrated by the CNS for economy and stability, according to investigators in the departments of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Injuries and pathologies may alter these features and result in substantial gait deficits, often with detrimental consequences for energy expenditure and balance. Therefore, an understanding of the role of biomechanics in the generation of healthy gait may provide insight into these deficits that may be applied to clinical gait pathologies.

A healthy gait pattern is based on an array of biomechanical features orchestrated by the CNS for economy and stability, according to investigators in the departments of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Injuries and pathologies may alter these features and result in substantial gait deficits, often with detrimental consequences for energy expenditure and balance. Therefore, an understanding of the role of biomechanics in the generation of healthy gait may provide insight into these deficits that may be applied to clinical gait pathologies.

Kuo and Donelan1 examined the basic principles of gait from the standpoint of dynamic walking, an approach that combines an inverted pendulum model of the stance leg with a pendulum model of the swing leg and its impact with the ground. The heel-strike at the end of each step has dynamic effects that may contribute to a periodic gait and its passive stability, they noted. Biomechanics may account for much of the gait pattern; additional motor inputs are important for improving economy and stability. The investigators suggested that the dynamic walking approach may be used to predict the consequences of disruptions to normal biomechanics and the associated observations may help explain some aspects of impaired gait.

References:

1. Kuo AD, Donelan JM. Dynamic principles of gait and their clinical implications. Phys Ther. 2009 Dec 18; [Epub ahead of print].

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