How does normal variability in trunk flexion affect lower limb muscle activity during walking?

Alghamdi, W and Preece, SJ ORCID: 2020, 'How does normal variability in trunk flexion affect lower limb muscle activity during walking?' , Human Movement Science, 72 , p. 102630.

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A large proportion of the mass of the body is contained within the trunk segment. Therefore, small changes in the inclination of this segment have the potential to influence the direction of the ground reaction force and alter lower limb joint moments and muscle activation patterns during walking. The aim of this study was to investigate if variability in sagittal trunk inclination in healthy participants is associated with differences in lower limb biomechanics. Gait analysis data was collected on 41 healthy participants during walking. Two groups were defined based on habitual trunk flexion angle during normal walking, a forward lean group (n=18) and a backward lean group (n=17). Lower limb moments, muscle activation patterns and co-contraction levels were compared between the two groups using independent t-tests. The forward lean group walked with 5° more trunk flexion than the backward lean group. This difference was associated with a larger peak hip moment (effect size=0.7) and higher activation of the lateral gastrocnemius (effect size =0.6) and the biceps femoris (effect size =0.7) muscles. The forward lean group also exhibited greater co-contraction in late stance (effect size =0.7). This is the first study to demonstrate that small differences in trunk flexion are associated with pronounced alterations in the activation of the lateral knee flexor muscles. This is important because people with knee osteoarthritis have been observed to walk with increased trunk flexion. It is possible that increased sagittal trunk inclination may be associated with elevated joint loads in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Human Movement Science
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0167-9457
Depositing User: SJ Preece
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 07:41
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 16:44

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