Association Between Altered Hip Extension and Kinetic Gait Variables

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Kinematic and kinetic outcome measures are tightly linked in walking. Although altering motor output is a major goal of gait rehabilitation, little is understood regarding the relationship between altering a single kinematic variable and kinetic outcome changes. We designed a strategy to isolate hip extension alterations during walking on a treadmill to assess the change in kinetic outcomes. Ten healthy individuals walked on an instrumented split-belt treadmill with motion capture to calculate hip extension and kinetic outcomes at the following five different randomized cadences: self-selected cadence, self-selected ± 10%, and self-selected ± 20%. The treadmill speed was held constant at the individual's self-selected walking speed, forcing cadence changes to result in successful alterations to hip extension, varying 8.3 degrees from the self-selected −20% to +20% cadence conditions. Kinetic outcomes demonstrated similar alterations. Hip extension changes at each cadence significantly correlated with kinetic changes in propulsive impulse (r = 0.852, P < 0.001), peak ankle power (r = 0.473, P = 0.002), and ankle plantarflexion work (r = 0.762, P < 0.001). These results demonstrate that kinetic outcomes are highly alterable in response to a kinematic gait change. This clinically relevant finding highlights the potential to improve motor output in individuals during rehabilitation by altering gait patterns to achieve more optimal limb positions.

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