The biomechanics of changing direction while walking has been largely neglected despite its obvious relevancy to functional mobility. The world is filled with turns that must be negotiated. These turns carry an increased risk of injury due to a decrease in stability. A VICON 612 system measured joint kinematics and kinetics on 10 normal subjects for straight line walking (ST); turning, inside foot strike (IN); and turning, outside foot strike (OUT). All trials were completed at a self-selected walking speed and across a range of speeds from 0.6 to 1.3 m/s; the turn radius was 1 m. Significant differences between the conditions were detected using a mixed effects repeated measures ANCOVA with walking speed as a covariate. The most pronounced differences were demonstrated in the mediolateral ground reaction force impulse: in straight walking the impulses tended to shift the body toward the contralateral limb. In turning, the IN and OUT impulses shifted the body toward the ipsilateral and contralateral limbs, respectively. Knee flexion during stance was increased on the IN limb, while ankle plantarflexion increased on the OUT limb consistent with body lean during turning; differences in joint kinetics during turning were negligible. Self-selected turning was significantly slower than walking straight ahead (0.96 ± 0.12 m/s versus 1.61 ± 0.22 m/s) and turning at very slow speeds showed a non-uniform center of mass trajectory. Understanding the mechanisms of turning will provide insights driving design, therapy and intervention to increase functional navigation in amputees, the elderly and individuals with neuromuscular pathologies. Crown Copyright © 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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