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Simulated Able-Bodied Lower-Limb Joint Loading While Walking on Unexpected Uneven Terrain
  • Kristen M. Stewart ,
  • Glenn Klute ,
  • Richard R. Neptune
Kristen M. Stewart
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Glenn Klute
University of Washington

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Richard R. Neptune
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Walking on uneven terrain is a common task throughout daily living and can cause changes in lower-limb kinematics and mechanics. Joint loading, while difficult to measure experimentally, may also increase on uneven terrain, which could contribute to the development of joint pain and debilitating conditions. This study investigated how lower-limb joint loading is affected during a step on coronally-uneven terrain and during the subsequent recovery step using data from individuals without mobility impairments (n=5) and musculoskeletal modeling and simulation, which can be used to reliably estimate joint contact forces. The simulations indicated changes in joint loading during both the uneven and recovery steps on uneven terrain compared to level-ground walking, and these changes varied throughout stance. During both the uneven and recovery steps, the largest increases in peak joint contact forces and impulses were at the ankle joint during early stance. These results suggest that individuals may rely more on early compensations at the ankle than compensations at the hip or knee throughout stance. Future work should include populations with mobility impairments and investigate if different compensatory strategies or interventions can influence the outcomes.