Effects of experimentally increased trunk stiffness on thorax and pelvis rotations during walking

W.H. Wu, X.C. Lin, O.G. Meijer, J.T. Gao, H. Hu, M.R. Prins, B.W. Liang, L.Q. Zhang, J.H. van Dieen, S.M. Bruijn

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Patients with non-specific low back pain, or a similar disorder, may stiffen their trunk, which probably alters their walking coordination. To study the direct effects of increasing trunk stiffness, we experimentally increased trunk stiffness during walking, and compared the results with what is known from the literature about gait coordination with, e.g., low back pain. Healthy subjects walked on a treadmill at 3 speeds (0.5, 1.0 and 1.5. m/s), in three conditions (normal, while contracting their abdominal muscles, or wearing an orthopedic brace that limits trunk motions). Kinematics of the legs, thorax and pelvis were recorded, and relative Fourier phases and amplitudes of segment motions were calculated. Increasing trunk stiffness led to a lower thorax-pelvis relative phase, with both a decrease in thorax-leg relative phase, and an increase in pelvis-leg relative phase, as well as reduced rotational amplitude of thorax relative to pelvis. While lower thorax-pelvis relative phase was also found in patients with low back pain, higher pelvis-leg relative phase has never been reported in patients with low back pain or related disorders. These results suggest that increasing trunk stiffness in healthy subjects causes short-term gait coordination changes which are different from those seen in patients with back pain. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)194-202
    JournalHuman Movement Science
    Early online date26 Nov 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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