The functional roles of muscles during sloped walking

Author: Pickle, N.T.; Grabowski, A.M.; Auyang, A.G.; Silverman, A.K.

Description: Sloped walking is biomechanically different from level-ground walking, as evidenced by changes in joint kinematics and kinetics. However, the changes in muscle functional roles underlying these altered movement patterns have not been established. In this study, we developed a total of 273 muscle-actuated simulations to assess muscle functional roles, quantified by induced body center-of-mass accelerations and trunk and leg power, during walking on slopes of 0 degrees , +/-3 degrees , +/-6 degrees , and +/-9 degrees at 1.25m/s. The soleus and gastrocnemius both provided greater forward acceleration of the body parallel to the slope at +9 degrees compared to level ground (+126% and +66%, respectively). However, while the power delivered to the trunk by the soleus varied with slope, the magnitude of net power delivered to the trunk and ipsilateral leg by the biarticular gastrocnemius was similar across all slopes. At +9 degrees , the hip extensors absorbed more power from the trunk (230% hamstrings, 140% gluteus maximus) and generated more power to both legs (200% hamstrings, 160% gluteus maximus) compared to level ground. At -9 degrees , the knee extensors (rectus femoris and vasti) accelerated the body upward perpendicular to the slope at least 50% more and backward parallel to the slope twice as much as on level ground. In addition, the knee extensors absorbed greater amounts of power from the ipsilateral leg on greater declines to control descent. Future studies can use these results to develop targeted rehabilitation programs and assistive devices aimed at restoring sloped walking ability in impaired populations.

Subject Headings: Acceleration; Adult; Biomechanical Phenomena; Female; Humans; Knee Joint/physiology; Male; Muscle, Skeletal/physiology; Walking/physiology; Biomechanics; Decline; Gait; Incline; Modeling and simulation

Keywords: The functional roles of muscles during sloped walking

Publication year: 2016

Journal or book title: Journal of Biomechanics

Volume: 49

Issue: 14

Pages: 3244-3251

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2657