Identifying differences in gait adaptability across various speeds using movement synergy analysis

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Ó'Reilly, David
Federolf, Peter
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Introduction: The aim of this study was to identify movement synergies during normal-walking that can differentiate healthy adults in terms of gait adaptability at various speeds. To this end, the association between movement synergies and lower-limb coordination variability or Deviation Phase (DP) was investigated. This study also investigated the moderating effect of movement synergies on the relationship between DP and the smoothness of arm-swing motion (NJI). Method: A principal component analysis of whole-body marker trajectories from normal-walking treadmill trials at 0.8m/s, 1.2m/s and 1.6m/s was undertaken. Both DP and NJI were derived from approx. 8 minutes of perturbed-walking treadmill trials. Principal movement components, PMk, were derived and the RMS of the 2nd-order differentiation of these PMk (PAkRMS) were included as independent variables representing the magnitude of neuromuscular control in each PMk. Each PAkRMS were input into maximal linear mixed-effects models against DP and (DP x NJI) respectively. A stepwise elimination of terms and comparison of models using Anova identified optimal models for both aims. Results: The principal movement related to the push-off mechanism of gait (PA4RMS) was identified as an optimal model and demonstrated a significant negative effect on DP however this effect may differ considerably across walking-speeds. An optimal model for describing the variance in (DP x NJI) included a fixed-effect of PA6RMS representing Right—Left side weight transfer was identified. Interpretation: The hypotheses that individuals who exhibited greater control on specific kinematic synergies would exhibit variations during perturbed walking was substantiated. Supporting evidence for the role of movement synergies during the double-support phase of gait in proactively correcting balance was presented as well as the potential for this approach in targeted rehabilitation. The potential influence of leg dominance on gait adaptability was also discussed. Future studies should investigate further the role of walking-speed and leg dominance on movement synergies and look to generalize these findings to patient populations.
Gait adaptability , Lower-limb coordination , Deviation Phase (DP) , Lower-limb coordination variability , Arm-swing motion
Ó’Reilly, D. and Federolf, P. (2021) 'Identifying differences in gait adaptability across various speeds using movement synergy analysis', PLoS ONE, 16(1), e0244582 (15pp). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244582