Postural dynamics of walking in humans

Biol Cybern. 1990;62(4):321-30. doi: 10.1007/BF00201446.


The dynamics of postural control in human biped locomotion were studied using (1) a model, and (2) experimentally applied impulsive force disturbances. The model was planar, and contained five rigid segments, articulating at frictionless pin joints. The model was used to identify joint torque combinations which would successfully correct for an impulsive force disturbance applied at different points in the walking cycle. The simulation results suggested that (1) early responses (within 80 ms) can be effective in compensating for impulsive disturbances, (2) the same strategies which successfully counteract similar disturbances during quiet standing are also effective in certain phases of the walking cycle, (3) modifications in the response strategies are needed to accommodate differences in the dynamics over the stride cycle, and (4) the swing leg is ineffective in compensating for disturbances in the short term. These model predictions were tested experimentally. Subject responses to an impulsive force disturbance applied during walking were studied. The electromyographic results generally support the model predictions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Posture*