Skip to main content

The Balance Recovery Mechanisms Against Unexpected Forward Perturbation

Abstract

Falls are one of the main concerns of the elderly. Proper postural adjustments to maintain balance involve the activation of appropriate muscles to produce force and to relocate the center of body mass (CoM). In this study, biomechanical aspects of dynamic postural responses against forward perturbations were experimentally determined by simultaneous measurements of joint angles and EMG activations. Thirteen young and healthy volunteers took turns standing on a flat platform, and were directed to move in the forward direction by an AC servo-motor set at two different speeds (0.1 and 0.2 m/s). Joint motions were recorded, and they followed the sequence of ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion, and then hip flexion during the later acceleration phase (AP) in order to maintain postural balance against forward perturbation. Tibialis anterior for the ankle dorsiflexion and biceps femoris for the knee flexion were activated during the second half of the AP as the primary muscles to recover balance. In addition, gastrocnemius, which was related to ankle plantarflexion, and rectus femoris, which was related to knee extension, were activated to maintain balance. Movements of the center of plantar pressure and ground reaction forces in fast-speed perturbation were significantly larger than those in slow-speed perturbation. As a result, the ankle strategy was used for slow-speed perturbation, but the mixed strategy consisting of both ankles and hip were used for fast-speed perturbation.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

FIGURE 1
FIGURE 2
FIGURE 3
FIGURE 4
FIGURE 5
FIGURE 6
FIGURE 7
FIGURE 8

References

  1. 1.

    Cham, R., M. S. Redfern. Lower extremity corrective reactions to slip events. J. Biomechanics 34:1439–1445, 2001. doi:10.1016/S0021-9290(01)00116-6

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Ferber, R. L., R. Osterning, M. H. Woollacott, N. J. Wasielewski, and J. H. Lee. Reactive balance adjustments to unexpected perturbations during human walking. Gait Posture 16:238–248, 2002. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(02)00010-3

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Ferber, R. L., R. Osterning, M. H. Woollacott, N. J. Wasielewski, and J. H. Lee. Gait perturbation response in chronic anterior cruciate ligament deficiency and repair. Clin. Biomech. 18:132–141, 2003. doi:10.1016/S0268-0033(02)00182-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Hsiao-Wecksler, E. T., K. Katdare, J. Matson, W. Liu, L. A. Lipsitz, and J. J. Collins. Predicting the dynamic postural control response from quiet-stance behaviour in elderly adults. J. Biomech. 36(9):1327–1333. 2003. doi:10.1016/S0021-9290(03)00153-2

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Hsiao E. T., and S. N. Robinovitch. Biomechanical influences on balance recovery by stepping. J. Biomech. 32: 1099–1106. 1999. doi:10.1016/S0021-9290(99)00104-9

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Hsiao-Wecksler, E. T., and S. N. Robinovitch. The effect of step length on young and elderly women’s ability to recover balance. Clin. Biomech. 22(5):574–580. 2007. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2007.01.013

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Hodges, P. W., B. H. Bui. A comparison of computer-based methods for the determination of onset of muscle contraction using electromyography. Eletroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol. 101:511-519. 1996.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Horak, F. B. Clinical assessment of balance disorder, Gait Posture 6:76-84, 1997. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(97)00018-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Hughes, M. A., M. L. Schenkman, J. M. Chandler, and S. A. Studenski. Postural responses to platform perturbation: kinematics and electromyography. Clin. Biomech. 10:318–322, 1995. doi:10.1016/0268-0033(94)00001-N

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Kamen, G., C. Patten, C. Duke, and S. Silson. An Accelerometry-Based system for the Assessment of Balance and Postural Sway. J. Gerontol. 44:40-45, 1998. doi:10.1159/000021981

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Karlsson, A., G. Frykberg. Correlations between force plate measures for assessment of balance. Clin. Biomech. 15:365-369, 2000. doi:10.1016/S0268-0033(99)00096-0

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Kleissen, R. F. M., J. H. Buurke, J. Harlaar, and G. Zilvold. Electromyography in the biomechanical analysis of human movement and its clinical application. Gait and Posture 8:143-158, 1998. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(98)00025-3

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Mayagoitia, R. E., J. C. Lotters, P. H. Veltink, and H. Hermens. Standing balance evaluation using a triaxial accelerometer. Gait Posture 6:55–59. 2002. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(01)00199-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Nashner, L., G. McCollum. The organization of human postural movements: a formal basis and experimental synthesis. Behav. Brain Sci. 8:135–172, 1985.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Nilssen, R. M. A new method for evaluating motor control in gait under real-life environmental conditions. Part 2: Gait analysis. Clinical Biomechanics 13:328-335, 1998. doi:10.1016/S0268-0033(98)00090-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Nilssen, R. M., J. L. Helbostad. Trunk accelerometry as a measure of balance control during quiet standing. Gait and Posture 16:60-68. 2002. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(01)00200-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Onell, A. The vertical ground reaction force for analysis of balance. Gait Posture 12:7-13, 2002. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(00)00053-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Runge, C. F., C. L. Shupert, F. B. Horak, and F. E. Zajac. Ankle and hip postural strategies defined by joint torques. Gait and Posture 10:161-170, 1999. doi:10.1016/S0966-6362(99)00032-6

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Staude, G., W. Wolf. Objective motor response onset detection in surface myoelectric signals. Medical Eng. & Physics 21:449-467. 1999. doi:10.1016/S1350-4533(99)00067-3

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Winter, D. A. Anatomy Biomechanics and Control of Balance During Standing and Walking. Waterloo: Biomechanics Inc., 157 pp, 1990

  21. 21.

    Yi, J. B., S. J. Kang, and Y. H. Kim. Characteristics of Vertical Acceleration at Center of Mass of the Body in Normal Gait. KAUTPT 9:39-46. 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    You, J. Y., Y. L. Chou, C. J. Lin, and F. C. Su. Effect of slip on movement of body center of mass relative to base of support, Clin. Biomech. 16:167-173, 2001. doi:10.1016/S0268-0033(00)00076-0

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research project was supported by the Sports Promotion Fund of Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation from Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and also was financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Science Technology (MEST) and Korea Industrial Technology Foundation (KOTEF) through the Human Resource Training Project for Regional Innovation.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Youngho Kim.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hwang, S., Tae, K., Sohn, R. et al. The Balance Recovery Mechanisms Against Unexpected Forward Perturbation. Ann Biomed Eng 37, 1629–1637 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-009-9717-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Forward perturbation
  • Dynamic postural responses
  • Motion analysis
  • EMG onset
  • Ankle strategy
  • Mixed strategy