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Cost of step time asymmetry and step length asymmetry in human walking

Citation

Stenum, Jan; Choi, Julia (2021), Cost of step time asymmetry and step length asymmetry in human walking, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.00000003g

Abstract

The metabolic cost of walking in healthy individuals increases with spatiotemporal gait asymmetries. Pathological gait, such as post-stroke, often has asymmetry in step lengths and step times which may contribute to an increased energy cost. But paradoxically, enforcing step length symmetry does not reduce metabolic cost of post-stroke walking. The isolated and interacting costs of asymmetry in step times and step lengths remain unclear, because previous studies did not simultaneously enforce spatial and temporal gait asymmetries. Here, we delineate isolated costs of asymmetry in step times and step lengths in healthy human walking. We first show that the cost of step length asymmetry is predicted by the cost of taking two non-preferred step lengths (one short and one long), but that step time asymmetry adds an extra cost beyond the cost of non-preferred step times. The metabolic power of step time asymmetry is about 2.5 times greater than the cost of step length asymmetry. Furthermore, the costs are not additive when walking with asymmetric step times and step lengths: metabolic power of concurrent asymmetry in step lengths and step times is driven by the cost of step time asymmetry alone. The metabolic power of asymmetry is explained by positive mechanical power produced during single support phases to compensate for a net loss of center of mass power incurred during double support phases. These data may explain why metabolic cost remains invariant to step length asymmetry in post-stroke walking and suggests how effects of asymmetry on energy cost can be attenuated.

Funding

University of Massachusetts Amherst