Visual deprivation is met with active changes in ground reaction forces to minimize worsening balance and stability during walking
Previous studies suggest that visual information is essential for balance and stability of locomotion. We investigated whether visual deprivation is met with active reactions tending to minimize worsening balance and stability during walking in humans. We evaluated effects of vision on kinetic characteristics of walking on a treadmill-ground reaction forces (GRFs) and shifts in the center of mass (COM). Young adults (n = 10) walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed. We measured three orthogonal components of GRFs and COM shifts during no-vision (NV) and full-vision (FV) conditions. We also computed the dynamic balance index (DN)—the perpendicular distance from the projection of center of mass (pCOM) to the inter-foot line (IFL) normalized to half of the foot length. Locally weighted regression smoothing with alpha-adjusted serial T tests was used to compare GRFs and DN between two conditions during the entire stance phase. Results showed significant differences in GRFs between FV and NV conditions in vertical and ML directions. Variability of peak forces of all three components of GRF increased in NV condition. We also observed significant increase in DN for NV condition in eight out of ten subjects. The pCOM was kept within BOS during walking, in both conditions, suggesting that body stability was actively controlled by adjusting three components of GRFs during NV walking to minimize stability loss and preserve balance.
KeywordsLocomotion Balance Stability Kinetics Base of support Variability
We thank Philippe Gourdou for help in data collection and analysis.
This study was supported by the National Science Engineering Research of Canada.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
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