Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1177–1189 | Cite as

Analysis of Musculoskeletal Loadings in Lower Limbs During Stilts Walking in Occupational Activity

  • John Z. Wu
  • Sharon S. Chiou
  • Christopher S. Pan


Construction workers often use stilts to raise them to a higher level above ground to perform many tasks, such as taping and sanding on the ceiling or upper half of a wall. Some epidemiological studies indicated that the use of stilts may place workers at increased risk for knee injuries or may increase the likelihood of trips and falls. In the present study, we developed an inverse dynamic model of stilts walking to investigate the effects of this activity on the joint moments and musculoskeletal loadings in the lower limbs. The stilts-walk model was developed using the commercial musculoskeletal simulation software AnyBody (version 3.0, Anybody Technology, Aalborg, Denmark). Simulations were performed using data collected from tests of four subjects. All subjects walked without or with stilts through a 12-m straight path. The moments of the knee, hip, and ankle joints, as well as forces in major muscles or muscle groups in the lower limbs, for stilts walking were compared with those for normal walking. Our simulations showed that the use of stilts may potentially increase the peak joint moment in knee extension by approximately 20%; induce 15% reduction and slight reduction in the peak joint moments in ankle plantar flexion and hip extension, respectively. The model predictions on the muscle forces indicated that the use of stilts may potentially increase loadings in five of eight major muscle groups in the lower extremities. The most remarkable was the force in rectus femoris muscle, which was found to potentially increase by up to 1.79 times for the stilts walking compared to that for the normal walking. The proposed model would be useful for the engineers in their efforts to improve the stilts design to reduce musculoskeletal loadings and fall risk.


Gait Stilts Muscle forces Inverse dynamics Joint moment 



We would like to thank Dr. Frank Buczek (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) for his suggestions on the interpretation of the results and Drs. John Rasmussen and Soeren Toerholm (Anybody Technology, Denmark) for the technical supports.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Z. Wu
    • 1
  • Sharon S. Chiou
    • 1
  • Christopher S. Pan
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSHMorgantownUSA

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