The scaling or ontogeny of human gait kinetics and walk-run transition: The implications of work vs. peak power minimization

Usherwood, J R and Hubel, T Y and Smith, B J H and Self Davies, Z T and Sobota, G (2018) The scaling or ontogeny of human gait kinetics and walk-run transition: The implications of work vs. peak power minimization. JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICS, 81. pp. 12-21.

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Abstract

A simple model is developed to find vertical force profiles and stance durations that minimize either limb mechanical work or peak power demands during bipedal locomotion. The model predicts that work minimization is achieved with a symmetrical vertical force profile, consistent with previous models and observations of adult humans, and data for 487 participants (predominantly 11–18 years old) required to walk at a range of speeds at a Science Fair. Work minimization also predicts the discrete walk-run transition, familiar for adult humans. In contrast, modeled peak limb mechanical power demands are minimized with an early skew in vertical ground reaction force that increases with speed, and stance durations that decrease steadily with speed across the work minimizing walk-run transition speed. The peak power minimization model therefore predicts a continuous walk-run gait transition that is quantitatively consistent with measurements of younger children (1.1–4.7 years) required to locomote at a range of speeds but free to select their own gaits.