Human movement science vol:22 issue:3 pages:271-83
Changes in horizontal velocity (HV) are known to influence many biomechanical characteristics of human locomotion. The purpose of the present study was to investigate this phenomenon with respect to the interlimb symmetry of walking in a normal population. Peak and temporal ground reaction force data from both feet of 20 able-bodied males were collected at each of three relative velocity conditions (slow, normal and fast). These data were analyzed using of a series of 2 x 3 repeated measures ANOVAs, which revealed a high degree of interlimb (bilateral) symmetry across HV conditions despite significant intralimb (unilateral) changes. In contrast to this primary finding were two significant interaction effects for the stance time and peak vertical force at push-off measures respectively. These interactions indicated greater asymmetries at the slow HV condition with a trend toward improved symmetry at higher velocities. Although these results may provide some theoretical insight into the underlying nature of symmetry in gait, their overall magnitude does not seem to invalidate the current widespread use of symmetry assumptions in clinical and research settings today.