Dynamic structure of variability in joint angles and center of mass position during user-driven treadmill walking

Kelley M. Kempski, Nicole T. Ray, Brian A. Knarr, Jill S. Higginson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Overground locomotion exhibits greater movement variability and less dynamic stability compared to typical fixed-speed treadmill walking. To minimize the differences between treadmill and overground locomotion, researchers are developing user-driven treadmill systems that adjust the speed of the treadmill belts in real-time based on how fast the subject is trying to walk. Research question: Does dynamic structure of variability, quantified by the Lyapunov exponent (LyE), of joint angles and center of mass (COM)position differ between a fixed-speed treadmill (FTM)and user-driven treadmill (UTM)for healthy subjects? Methods: Eleven healthy, adult subjects walked on a user-driven treadmill that updated its speed in real-time based on the subjects’ propulsive forces, location, step length, and step time, and at a matched speed on a typical, fixed-speed treadmill for 1-minute. The LyE for flexion/extension joint angles and center of mass position were calculated. Results: Subjects exhibited higher LyE values of joint angles on the UTM compared to the FTM indicating that walking on the UTM may be more similar to overground locomotion. No change in COM LyE was observed between treadmill conditions indicating that subjects’ balance was not significantly altered by this new training paradigm. Significance: The user-driven treadmill may be a more valuable rehabilitation tool for improving gait than fixed-speed treadmill training, as it may increase the effectiveness of transitioning learned behaviors to overground compared to fixed-speed treadmills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-244
Number of pages4
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Adaptive
  • Center of mass
  • Gait
  • Joint angles
  • Lyapunov exponent
  • Non-linear
  • Treadmill
  • User-driven
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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