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Impact of joint torques on heel acceleration at heel contact, a contributor to slips and falls.

Authors
Beschorner-K; Cham-R
Source
Ergonomics 2008 Dec; 51(12):1799-1813
NIOSHTIC No.
20035086
Abstract
Slips/falls are a health burden in the workplace. Previous research has implied a relationship between foot dynamics at heel contact and slips/falls; however, heel acceleration has received little attention. Heel acceleration as the heel contacts the ground is the result of the combined effort of the leg joint torques to control motion of the foot. This study aims to examine the association of heel acceleration with fall risk, and explore the main joint torque determinant of heel acceleration at contact. Sixteen young and eleven older adults walked on known dry floors and in slippery environments expected to be dry. Heel acceleration at heel contact in the direction of motion, i.e. anterior/posterior, was compared between slip-recovery and slip-fall outcomes. Results showed that subjects that recovered contacted the floor with a greater heel deceleration (p < 0.05) than fall subjects. Knee torque alone explained 76% of the heel acceleration variability (p < 0.01). These data suggest that walking with reduced knee flexion torque at heel contact results in a reduced heel deceleration, a potential risk factor for slip-initiated falls.
Keywords
Accidents; Accident-analysis; Biomechanics; Environmental-factors; Ergonomics; Foot-injuries; Floors; Injuries; Knee-injuries; Musculoskeletal-system; Occupational-accidents; Posture; Surface-properties; Slope-stability; Walking-surfaces; Author Keywords: Slips; Falls; Gait; Joint torque; Heel dynamics
CODEN
ERGOAX
Publication Date
20081201
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
keb52@pitt.edu
Funding Amount
149354
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2009
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R03-OH-007533; Grant-Number-R01-OH-007592
Issue of Publication
12
ISSN
0014-0139
Source Name
Ergonomics
State
PA
Performing Organization
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Bioengineering, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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