Stepping threshold with platform-translation and shoulder-pull postural perturbation methods.


School of Kinesiology & Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]


The type of balance recovery, feet-in-place or stepping, is predicated on the perturbation intensity, often defined by the combination of applied force and displacement. Few studies examined the relationship between characteristics required to produce a stepping response with one of the postural perturbation methods. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between perturbation characteristics (applied force and displacement) required to elicit a forward stepping response with platform-translation and shoulder-pull methods, and to establish whether a common set of perturbation characteristics existed across both perturbation methods. Fourteen young healthy males participated. Temporally unexpected platform translations and shoulder pulls were induced by release of free weights, which fell a controlled height exerting a pull on the platform or on the participant via a shoulder harness. Participants responded with either feet-in-place or stepping responses. The force and displacement were varied to investigate the range of force-displacement combinations required to elicit stepping responses. Force-displacement combinations that elicited stepping responses were recorded and normalized to the participant's body weight (BW) and the base of support (BOS; participant's foot length). The lowest force and associated displacement that elicited stepping responses showed an inverse linear relationship during both platform-translation and shoulder-pull trials. The lowest force-displacement combination common to both perturbation methods was found to be 8.75%BW and 105%BOS, which, in the future work, could enable a direct comparison of the neuromuscular and biomechanical responses to different perturbation methods in a manner that attempts to equilibrate the perturbation stimulus across the methods.


Balance recovery,Change-in-support threshold,Postural control,Reactive stepping,

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