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Effect of forward lean on postural ankle dynamics

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2 Author(s)
Sinha, T. ; Inst. of Med. Sci., Toronto Univ., Ont., Canada ; Maki, B.E.

Previous studies investigating postural control using platform perturbations demonstrated that forward leaning occurs under certain experimental conditions. This study examined a potential benefit of forward leaning, investigating the hypothesis that forward lean acts to increase the effective stiffness of the postural ankle dynamics. A systems modeling approach was used to evaluate the effect of forward lean (4° ankle flexion beyond normal stance) on dynamic postural responses to continuous random antero-posterior platform acceleration in four healthy young adults. Motion was limited to the ankle joint using a restraint device and responses were characterized in terms of center-of-pressure displacement. Also, EMG and kinematic data were used to partition measured ankle torque into impedance and activation (postural “reflex”) components. The results failed to show a consistent effect, due to lean, on the ankle dynamics. A significant increase in phasic ankle torque due to increased muscle impedance during forward lean was counterbalanced by a comparable decrease in net “reflex”) ankle torque. The change in “reflex” torque was apparently due to decreased phasic dorsiflexor activity in forward lean, since phasic plantar flexor activity did not change significantly. Functionally, the results suggest that forward lean occurs for reasons other than stiffening of the overall postural ankle dynamics

Published in:

Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )