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Gait transition

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Simon Spooner, Apr 6, 2016.


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    Why do we transition from a walking gait to a running gait to a sprinting gait?

    Gait transition seems to vary between individuals (Obvs), and is obviously related to metabolic cost. But what exactly is the CNS picking up on to make the decisions as to the required gait for the given velocity?
  2. I would say metabolic cost is important

    but so is the ability to control the rise and fall of the Center of mass keeping that wave " smooth" will be I think a major reason for changing the type of gait at certain velocity?s
  3. Simon:

    There has been quite a bit of research on walk-run transition. The CNS obviously uses metabolic cost as a method of altering gait patterns (and other movement patterns) and probably uses muscle, joint and tendon receptors for input on position and discomfort, input from eyes and inner ear on movement path and velocity along with other factors. I am unaware of any specific research in this regard. However, I do know that during my exercise physiology days of over 35 years ago, the research on this subject was very sparse.
  4. A little more background on my interest here: recently Ian Griffiths and I were lecturing in Valencia. One of the sessions involved taking running subjects and manipulating gait parameters. If memory serves we were running one of the subjects at 10 or 11 km per hour, he had a "cross-over" running gait at this treadmill speed. We then placed a line down the centre of the treadmill and asked him to strike either side of the line, i.e. increase his base of gait. With the treadmill set at the same speed, (by definition) he stopped running and was now walking- double support phase was evident. Hell of a fast walk, but by many definitions he was now walking. What was going on here?
  5. Further thoughts: what if the CNS get's it wrong? Can the CNS pick the wrong gait strategy for the forward velocity? Our subject "walking" at the same velocity he was previously "running" at is an anomaly. Was the conscious over-ride that we asked our subject to attempt playing havoc with the sensory feedback system resulting in him "walking" at a velocity he should have been running at? This thinking brings me back to the Robbins-Gouwe hypothesis: if we modify sensory input are we at risk of selecting the wrong gait? Just a thought.

    Never been a big fan of the Robbins-Gouwe hypothesis, but its got me thinking...

    When the conscious brain is thinking about "running style", modifying it and in so doing over-riding the unconscious brain's decisions on the required gait??? Is this the root of the problem here?- Just a thought.

    Is relax, listen to some music (take the conscious brain elsewhere) the solution? Always listened to music when running and I've never had a running related injury so it must be right ;-)
  6. efuller

    efuller MVP

    If the CNS gets it "wrong" the answer in why it gets it wrong will probably be related to why we think one style of gait is better at any given velocity.

    If we choose to move at a particular velocity, we have many choices to achieve that. For example, trying to run really slowly makes it seem like there would be too much impact and too much effort (energy cost).

    If one tries to walk really fast.... what makes it feel better to run. Perhaps running would require a lower stride frequency and have a longer stride length. Moving the legs does take energy.

    My two cents
  7. I'm beginning to think that it is conscious over-ride in decision making that is making it wrong. It seems to me that the unconscious brain has access to all of the sensory feedback and probably makes decisions regarding gait based mainly upon metabolic efficiency, pain/ injury avoidance. Yet if the "arrogant" conscious mind tries to over-ride this, that's when problems arise. Obvious implications for the emerging field of "gait retraining"...

    Take a game such as soccer or rugby in which players are running a lot, yet their minds are on things other than the way they are running. Then compare to "runners" during which the mind and participation is focused upon their running... I know there are differences in surface etc. But I don't recall seeing the same degree of "running related injuries" in sports which involve lots of running, other than in "running",
  8. The base of gait in walking is generally, almost always, more wide than the base of gait of running. It is possibly that it was metabolically more efficient to walk at a fast speed of walking than to run at a slow speed of running.

    In running, due to the double float phase, the individual will tend to place their foot very close to being directly under the center of mass. In walking, however, this is never seen. My guess it was your suggestion to widen his base of gait that forced his CNS to find that walking was a more efficient way of accomplishing this wide base of gait, avoiding your center line, with the least amount of metabolic energy.
  9. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


    Transition from walking to running

    Human locomotion is considered to take two primary forms: walking and running. In contrast, many quadrupeds have three distinct forms of locomotion: walk, trot, and gallop. Walking is a form of locomotion defined by a double support phase when both feet are on the ground at the same time. Running is a form of locomotion that does not have this double support phase (switched into double float phase). In human running, the feet are never in contact with the ground simultaneously and there is a phase where neither foot is in contact and both feet are temporarily airborne. The transition between walking and running gaits is accomplished within two to three steps.

  10. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    What factors determine the preferred gait transition speed in humans? A review of the triggering mechanisms
    Stacey M.KungaPhilip W.FinkbStephen J.LeggcAjmolAlidSarah P.Shultza
    Human Movement Science; Volume 57, February 2018, Pages 1-12
  11. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Prediction of walk-to-run transition using stride frequency: A test-retest reliability study
    Ernst Albin Hansen et al
    Gait and Posture; Article in Press

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