The purpose of this pilot study was to establish the efficacy and feasibility of a single-session treadmill-based stance-slip perturbation program on preventing slip-related falls while walking over the ground among young adults. Two groups (training vs. control) of healthy young participants were respectively exposed to a treadmill-based stance-slip perturbation training protocol and a placebo training protocol. Post training, both groups experienced an unexpected overground gait-slip. Our results indicated that 28.6% of individuals in the training group and 55.0% of controls fell when responding to the overground slip. In comparison with the control group, the training group exhibited better control over the compensatory step and dynamic stability at the instant immediately prior to recovery touchdown. The improved dynamic stability control in the training group likely resulted from the enhanced capability of harnessing the slip kinematics of the base of support. Dynamic stability did not display any significant group-associated difference at slipping foot touchdown and recovery foot liftoff. This implies that a stance-slip perturbation training protocol with eight slips may not provide enough and very task-specific incentive to the Central Nervous System to form the capability of sufficiently modifying regular gait pattern after an unexpected gait slip. However, given its ease of use, stance-perturbation could be a practical option to train individuals in clinical settings as a simple push or pull could exert a perturbation to a standing individual. The findings from this study provide information for developing future studies based on large-scale samples.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine