ALTERATIONS IN GROUND REACTION FORCES DURING TETHERED WALKING

  • A. Finch
  • J. Santiago
  • K. Sasaki

Abstract

This study examined t h e e f f e c t s of tethering conditions on ground forces while walking a t 2.5 mph. Six males w e r e unweighted 0%, 25%, 50% and 75% of t h e i r BWT while supported i n a Kinney upper body vest by an active traction prototype (Conva-Lift). They walked 10 min. a t each randomly selected unweighting condition in a 12 f t . dia. c i r c l e . Ten right and l e f t s t r i d e impacts w e r e collected a t 1000 Hz with an Ariel APAS system using a K i s t l e r force plate during each condition a t 2.5 mph (27%). Walking velocity was verified by an infra-red timing system. 5 right and l e f t s t r i d e s in which the velocity was closest t o 2.5 mph w e r e selected for analysis. The s t r i d e was delineated into the phases of heelstrike (HS), midfoot support (MFS), and toe-off (TO). The v e r t i c a l forces (F,) a t the 3 phases, the fore-aft forces (Fy) a t HS and TO and the contact time w e r e calculated. A 4x2x5 ANOVA (WtxFtxLeg) with repeated measures on a l l factors was used t o analyze (F,) forces a t HS, MFS, and TO, fore-aft forces (Fy) a t HS, TO, and contact t i m e . The v e r t i c a l forces (Fz) a t HS w e r e 902.0+112.9 Nt(76% BWT), and 389.3276.8 Nt(45% BWT) for the unweighting conditions. The i n i t i a l impact forces w e r e consistent with normal overland walking and the F, forces w e r e significantly reduced when the subject was unweighted a t 50% and 75% of t h e i r BWT. The forea f t forces representing the decelerative forces w e r e 16%, 16%, lo%, and 4% BWT for the weight conditions. Significant differences w e r e found t o exist between the i n i t i a l contact force a t 0% ( f u l l BWT) and 75% unweighting. The MFS v e r t i c a l forces (F,) w e r e 682.7±73.4, 595.7±73.3, 395.9±49.8, and 234.3±28.7 N t for the loading conditions. The midfoot forces represented about a 30% reduction or absorption of the i n i t i a l impact forces, while the 75% condition exhibited only a 18% reduction in the impact force which would suggest that weight bearing mechanism of the arch of the foot functioned differently when unloaded. The F, forces a t TO significantly differed from 869.1±118.5, 76.56±105.4, 537.9±91.8, and 281.4±78.2 f o r t h e conditions. The percentage of reduction of F, forces a t HS and TO for the unweighting conditions, and the v e r t i c a l forces a t TO w e r e decreased more for a similar degree of unweighting. This finding would suggest that t h i s active traction prototype might be beneficial in t h e r e h a b i l i t a t i o n of posterior compartment injuries. When examining the reduction i n the fore-aft accelerative forces a t TO, the % BWT w e r e similar t o the F, forces a t HS for similar unloading conditions. The s t r i d e contact times significantly differed between ,705±03 sec for t h e r i g h t s t r i d e s and ,68±.04 sec for the l e f t s t r i d e s and no differences existed for the weighting condition. Significant time differences w e r e attributable t o the outside leg having t o travel a greater distance in the same t i m e a s t h e inner leg, while walking in a c i r c l e . The Conva-Lift's travel direction is reversible t o prevent any imbalances due t o circular walking. The significant differences in the ground reaction forces in the v e r t i c a l and fore-aft direction as the subjects w e r e unweighted would indicate that the Conva-Lift is a viable means of reducing ground reaction forces while ambulating.
Section
Coaching and Sports Activities