Evaluation and training of hands and feet movements performed with different strategies: a kinematic study

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2011 Apr;113(3):218-23. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2010.11.011. Epub 2010 Dec 9.


Objectives: To assess whether the ability to execute flexion/extension of hands and feet, in different patterns of in-phase and anti-phase association, is influenced by the planning of the movements according to the two body sides (i.e., right vs. left) compared to the upper and lower parts of the body (i.e., hands vs. feet); and to evaluate how training of these movements influences their performance.

Methods: Fifteen healthy subjects were studied while performing four different tasks involving simultaneously in-phase and anti-phase movements of the hands and feet in the parasagittal plane. Hand and foot movements were represented by wrist and ankle kinematics, measured before and after training as duration of correct execution, median frequency of movements, median ranges of motion and discrete relative phase (AEø).

Results: During baseline assessment, subjects performed the task better when instructions were given to focus on in-phase or anti-phase movements of bilateral upper and lower extremities than when instructions were focused on the movements of the left and right side. After the training these differences disappeared. During all the conditions, the duration of correct execution and the movement frequency were significantly different between the baseline and the final assessment (p ranging from 0.001 to 0.04). The AEø did not differ among the four tasks, as well as between the baseline and the final assessment.

Conclusion: Combination of movements of the hands and feet is easier when planning the movements with respect to the upper or lower segments of the body rather than right and left side. These findings might have important implications when subjects have to learn novel coordination patterns as it is the case in rehabilitative and sportive activities.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Ankle / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Supine Position / physiology
  • Wrist / physiology
  • Young Adult