Graduation Date

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Programs

Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Ka-Chun Siu

Abstract

Studying biomechanical characteristics of human motion sheds light on the motor control strategies in the central nervous system. Slope walking and obstacle negotiation appear to have some similarities in control strategies based on subjective observation, but these two motions have never been compared objectively in biomechanics literature. This study aimed to investigate the similarities between obstacle negotiation and slope walking in kinematics and muscle activity. The similarities were determined by the correlation of the maximum heel elevation and muscle co-activation index between obstacle negotiation and inclined treadmill walking. The strength of correlation was compared in four different pairs of conditions: 1) no-obstacle and level treadmill; 2) 3.9cm-obstacle and 5% inclined treadmill; 3) 7.8cm-obstacle and 10% inclined treadmill; 4) 11.5cm-obstacle and 15% inclined treadmill. The correlations of maximum heel elevation between obstacle negotiation and inclined treadmill walking varied from weak to very strong (r = 0.24 - 0.81) across all four pairs of conditions. The muscle co-activation index was strongly to very strongly correlated (r = 0.68 - 0.83) between two motions across all four conditions. In conclusion, there was a certain level of similarity in kinematics and muscle activities between obstacle negotiation and inclined treadmill walking, especially between obstacle negotiation with a 3.9cm-high obstacle and 5% inclined treadmill walking and between obstacle negotiation with an 11.5cm-high obstacle and 15% inclined treadmill walking.

Available for download on Friday, April 29, 2022

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