Control of whole body balance in the frontal plane during human walking

J Biomech. 1993 Jun;26(6):633-44. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(93)90027-c.


A whole-body inverted pendulum model was used to investigate the control of balance and posture in the frontal plane during human walking. The model assessed the effects of net joint moments, joint accelerations and gravitational forces acting about the supporting foot and hip. Three video cameras and two force platforms were used to collect kinematic and kinetic data from repeat trials on four subjects during natural walking. An inverse solution was used to calculate net joint moments and powers. Whole body balance was ensured by the centre of mass (CM) passing medial to the supporting foot, thus creating a continual state of dynamic imbalance towards the centerline of the plane of progression. The medial acceleration of the CM was primarily generated by a gravitational moment about the supporting foot, whose magnitude was established at initial contact by the lateral placement of the new supporting foot relative to the horizontal location of the CM. Balance of the trunk and swing leg about the supporting hip was maintained by an active hip abduction moment, which recognized the contribution of the passive accelerational moment, and countered a large destabilizing gravitational moment. Posture of the upper trunk was regulated by the spinal lateral flexors. Interactions between the supporting foot and hip musculature to permit variability in strategies used to maintain balance were identified. Possible control strategies and muscle activation synergies are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / physiology
  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Foot / physiology
  • Gravitation
  • Head / physiology
  • Hip / physiology
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Pelvis / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Thorax / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*