What are the determinants of gait?
Posted: May 25, 2021
A typical walking gait pattern relies upon several important biomechanical characteristics which are known as the determinants of gait. The six determinants of gait were initially published by Saunders back in 1953, and still have been broadly accepted with some changes as well as minor issues. These determinants of gait are thought significant as they help maintain a more economical gait via the reducing the up and down center of mass movement that leads to a decrease in the metabolic energy necessary for motion. The principle underpinning this is that a improved management of these determinants of gait contributes to a rise in energy preservation and more efficient movement. The theory which does underpin these types of determinants of gait are typically in disagreement with the ‘inverted pendulum’ concept that considers the static stance leg acts as a pendulum that tracks an arc. The biomechanics area will continue to debate the merit of the two theories.
The 6 determinants of gait and just how they have an effect on the centre of mass (abbreviated as COM) movement and energy efficiency are:
- Pelvic rotation: The pelvis pivots side to side throughout normal walking to help with the advancement of the opposite side by means of decreased hip flexion and extension. This influences the reduction of metabolic energy and also the greater energy preservation by reduction of the vertical center of mass displacement.
- Pelvic tilt: Throughout normal gait there is a slanting with the swing phase side of the pelvis that is governed by the hip abductor muscles. The muscle activity reduces the raising of the COM through the changeover from hip flexion to extension. This would lower the use of metabolic energy and increase energy preservation by lessening vertical center of mass movement.
- Knee joint flexion throughout the stance phase: The knee joint is extended at heel strike and after that begins to flex when the foot is in contact with the ground. The knee flexion will lower the height with the up and down trajectory of the center of mass leading to some energy preservation.
- Motion with the foot and ankle: The ankle joint rockers at heel contact and mid-stance leads to a decrease in center of mass movement through the shortening of the lower leg play a role by reducing the COM vertical displacement.
- Knee movements: The movement of the knee joint is related to the ones from the ankle and foot movements and brings about the reduction of the center of mass vertical movement which contributes to decreases with the center of mass displacement as well as energy cost.
- Lateral displacement of the body: this lateral movement of the pelvis or a relative adduction of the hip is mediated through the influence of the tibiofemoral angle and relative adduction of the hip joint to decrease up and down COM movement. It is deemed that this particular characteristic has a major part in ensuring the efficiency in normal gait.
These 6 determinants of gait happen to be pragmatically intriguing as they allow us to give attention to a number of important aspects to help keep the COM movement flat and help the efficiency of gait. Nevertheless, some current analysis queries if all or some of the determinants are actually that critical in the general system of the events which occur throughout the walking cycle. Despite that thinking of these kinds of determinants is key in comprehending gait disability.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.