Ankle and Midfoot Power During Walking and Stair Ascent in Healthy Adults

J Appl Biomech. 2018 Aug 1;34(4):262-269. doi: 10.1123/jab.2017-0095. Epub 2018 Jul 14.


Ankle power dominates forward propulsion of gait, but midfoot power generation is also important for successful push-off. However, it is unclear if midfoot power generation increases or stays the same in response to propulsive activities that induce larger external loads and require greater ankle power. The purpose of this study was to examine ankle and midfoot power in healthy adults during progressively more demanding functional tasks. Multisegment foot motion (tibia, calcaneus, and forefoot) and ground reaction forces were recorded as participants (N = 12) walked, ascended a standard step, and ascended a high step. Ankle and midfoot positive peak power and positive total power, and the proportion of midfoot to ankle positive total power were calculated. One-way repeated-measures analyses of variance were conducted to evaluate differences across tasks. Main effects were found for ankle and midfoot peak and total powers (all Ps < .01), but not for the proportion of midfoot-to-ankle total power (P = .33). Ankle and midfoot power significantly increased across each task. Midfoot power increased in proportion to ankle power and in congruence to the external load of a task. Study findings may serve to inform multisegment foot modeling applications and internal mechanistic theories of normal and pathological foot function.

Keywords: foot biomechanics; kinetics; multisegment foot model.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle / anatomy & histology
  • Ankle / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Calcaneus / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Foot / anatomy & histology
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Tibia / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*