Vector coding reveals the underlying balance control strategies used by humans during translational perturbation

Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 5;12(1):21030. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-24731-3.


Postural control research has focused on standing balance experiments on platforms moving with relatively large amplitudes (0.1-0.2 m). This study investigated balance strategies while standing on a platform moving 4 mm in anterior-posterior direction with frequency scaled linearly from 0.4 to 6 Hz. Platform motion and kinematic and kinetic information for nine healthy participants were recorded using motion capture and force plate systems. Coordination between hip, knee and ankle joint torque, and centre of mass (COM) and centre of pressure (COP) motion was quantified by vector coding. Significant main effect of platform frequency for knee-ankle and COP-COM phase relationship was observed (p = 0.023, p = 0.016). At frequencies below 2.11 and 2.34 Hz, ankle strategy was recruited. With ankle strategy, in-phase COP-COM motion with COP dominancy occurred at frequencies below 2.19 and 2.23 Hz during scaling up and down, respectively. As platform frequency passed these values, COM dominated over COP which was followed by anti-phase knee-ankle torque, called a knee strategy, and anti-phase motion between the COP and COM that allowed COP to regain dominance over COM. Collectively, we reveal knee strategy as a new and relevant strategy in real-life settings, and transition between ankle and knee strategies that underpinned transition between COP-COM relative motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ankle
  • Ankle Joint
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Postural Balance*
  • Posture*