Modular footwear that partially offsets downhill or uphill grades minimizes the metabolic cost of human walking

Prokopios Antonellis, Cory M. Frederick, Arash Mohammadzadeh Gonabadi, Philippe Malcolm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Walking on different grades becomes challenging on energetic and muscular levels compared to level walking. While it is not possible to eliminate the cost of raising or lowering the centre of mass (COM), it could be possible to minimize the cost of distal joints with shoes that offset downhill or uphill grades. We investigated the effects of shoe outsole geometry in 10 participants walking at 1 m s1 on downhill, level and uphill grades. Level shoes minimized metabolic rate during level walking (Psecond-order effect < 0.001). However, shoes that entirely offset the (overall) treadmill grade did not minimize the metabolic rate of walking on grades: shoes with a +3° (upward) inclination minimized metabolic rate during downhill walking on a −6° grade, and shoes with a −3° (downward) inclination minimized metabolic rate during uphill walking on a +6° grade (Pinteraction effect = 0.023). Shoe inclination influenced (distal) ankle joint parameters, including soleus muscle activity, ankle moment and work rate, whereas treadmill grade influenced (whole-body) ground reaction force and COM work rate as well as (distal) ankle joint parameters including tibialis anterior and plantarflexor muscle activity, ankle moment and work rate. Similar modular footwear could be used to minimize joint loads or assist with walking on rolling terrain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number191527
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Footwear inclination
  • Grade
  • Metabolic rate
  • Stairs
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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