Effects of step length and step frequency on lower-limb muscle function in human gait

Journal article


Lim, Yoong Ping, Lin, Yi-Chung and Pandy, Marcus G.. (2017). Effects of step length and step frequency on lower-limb muscle function in human gait. Journal of Biomechanics. 57, pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.03.004
AuthorsLim, Yoong Ping, Lin, Yi-Chung and Pandy, Marcus G.
Abstract

The aim of this study was to quantify the effects of step length and step frequency on lower-limb muscle function in walking. Three-dimensional gait data were used in conjunction with musculoskeletal modeling techniques to evaluate muscle function over a range of walking speeds using prescribed combinations of step length and step frequency. The body was modeled as a 10-segment, 21-degree-of-freedom skeleton actuated by 54 muscle-tendon units. Lower-limb muscle forces were calculated using inverse dynamics and static optimization. We found that five muscles – GMAX, GMED, VAS, GAS, and SOL – dominated vertical support and forward progression independent of changes made to either step length or step frequency, and that, overall, changes in step length had a greater influence on lower-limb joint motion, net joint moments and muscle function than step frequency. Peak forces developed by the uniarticular hip and knee extensors, as well as the normalized fiber lengths at which these muscles developed their peak forces, correlated more closely with changes in step length than step frequency. Increasing step length resulted in larger contributions from the hip and knee extensors and smaller contributions from gravitational forces (limb posture) to vertical support. These results provide insight into why older people with weak hip and knee extensors walk more slowly by reducing step length rather than step frequency and also help to identify the key muscle groups that ought to be targeted in exercise programs designed to improve gait biomechanics in older adults.

Keywordswalking speed; cadence; support; progression; musculoskeletal model
Year2017
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Journal citation57, pp. 1-7
PublisherElsevier Ltd
ISSN0021-9290
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.03.004
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85017343171
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-7
FunderAustralian Research Council (ARC)
Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge, and Innovation (VESKI)
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Mar 2017
Deposited17 Aug 2022
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDDP160104366
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