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Kinesiology & Recreation


Adam Jagondinsky

Mentor Department

Kinesiology & Recreation


Introduction: Numerous studies have been conducted to assess the biomechanical and neuromotor response to sudden ankle perturbation. The goal of such studies is often to explore the mechanisms that may contribute to ankle sprain prevention. However, when perturbations are invoked during walking, subsequent trials may be impacted by gait adaptations in response to the initial perturbation. Common gait strategy after experiencing a perturbation is a decrease in step length and an increase in step width. Purpose: Compare two drop conditions to determine if they elicit similar spatial-temporal adaptations, and if after repeated exposure adaptations return close to baseline. Methods: 12 healthy volunteers walked along a two-trapdoor walkway (6.10m in length & 0.25m tall) that elicited random, sudden inversion and inversion/plantarflexion drops. Participants performed trials of walking gait during normal walking (NW), inversion (ID), and inversion/plantarflexion (IPD) conditions. During all trials, subjects wore basketball vision blocking goggles to prevent them from seeing the walkway in front of them and were told to walk to a beat of 90bpm from a metronome. The means based on right and left heel strike and toe off were collected through motion capturing technology to determine spatial-temporal variables of step length, step width, and their respective standard deviations. Repeated ANOVAs were employed to assess differences across all three conditions during first and last wash trials in-regards-to step length, step width, and their respective standard deviations. Results: No significant differences were observed in spatial-temporal variables across conditions or time: Step Length (F (2,9) =.290, p=.751); Step Width (F (2,9) = .140, p=.870); Step Length Standard Deviation (F (2,9) = .708, p=.504); and Step Width Standard Deviation (F (2,9) = .926, p=.411). Conclusion: Due to the lack of significant differences found across all conditions, we can conclude both the inversion and inversion/plantarflexion drop elicited similar responses to gait strategy. Specifically, by examining the first and last wash trial per condition, it does not appear the perturbation influenced the gait characteristics during the subsequent trial or after several normalization trials. This confirms our experimental design of including six wash trials between each condition did not impact gait strategy. Alternatively, other spatial-temporal parameters (double-leg support time, swing phase, etc) that were not explored in the current study may have been impacted by the perturbations.

Movement Adaptations Following Unexpected Ankle Perturbations During Walking