Consistent Inconsistencies in braking: a spatial analysis

Hallway Braking Versus Propulsion
Hammerberg AG, Kramer PA. (2021) Consistent Inconsistencies in braking: a spatial analysis. Royal Society Interface 11: 20200058. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2020.0058

The dynamic system that is the bipedal body in motion is of interest to engineers, clinicians and biological anthropologists alike. Spatial statistics is more familiar to public health researchers as a way of analysing disease clustering and spread; nonetheless, this is a practical approach to the two-dimensional topography of the foot. We quantified the clustering of the centre of pressure (CoP) on the foot for peak braking and propulsive vertical ground reaction forces (GRFs) over multiple, contiguous steps to assess the consistency of the location of peak forces on the foot during walking. The vertical GRFs of 11 participants were collected continuously via a wireless insole system (MoticonReGo AG) across various experimental conditions. We hypothesized that CoPs would cluster in the hindfoot for braking and forefoot for propulsion, and that braking would demonstrate more consistent clustering than propulsion. Contrary to our hypotheses, we found that CoPs during braking are inconsistent in their location, and CoPs during propulsion are more consistent and clustered across all participants and all trials. These results add to our understanding of the applied forces on the foot so that we can better predict fatigue failures and better understand the mechanisms that shaped the modern bipedal form.

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