Human postural dynamics

Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 1991;18(6):413-37.


The study of posture dynamics is important not only to understand disorders of impaired equilibrium and protective reactions to unexpected displacements of the human body, but also to the design of prosthesis and functional neuromuscular stimulation as aids to patients with impaired postural stability and locomotion. Coordinated control of the body segments is a complex aspect of motor behavior, owing to the multiple degrees of freedom of the controlled system. Several interacting subsystems are involved in the dynamics of human posture and locomotion, including the skeletal, neuromuscular, and sensory systems. Human posture control is maintained by somatosensory, vestibular, and visual feedback, integrated within the locomotor and central nervous systems. Studies of posture dynamics and stability therefore entail the study of mechanical aspects of the human body, its sensory systems, and the principles governing coordination in motion control. In this paper is reviewed some of the research done in the field of human posture dynamics, including such topics as biomechanics, equilibrium, stability, motion coordination, neural feedback, neural control systems modeling, motion strategies, optimality of motion, and adaptation. We consider experimental approaches and theoretical models, as well as the gap between them. Principles for the experimental investigation of control systems are considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Movement / physiology
  • Movement Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology