Quantifying foot placement variability and dynamic stability of movement to assess control mechanisms during forward and lateral running


Research has indicated that human walking is more unstable in the secondary, rather than primary plane of progression. However, the mechanisms of controlling dynamic stability in different planes of progression during running remain unknown. The aim of this study was to compare variability (standard deviation and coefficient of variation) and dynamic stability (sample entropy and local divergence exponent) in anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions in forward and lateral running patterns. For this purpose, fifteen healthy, male participants ran in a forward and lateral direction on a treadmill at their preferred running speeds. Coordinate data of passive reflective markers attached to body segments were recorded using a motion capture system. Results indicated that: (1) there is lower dynamic stability in the primary plane of progression during both forward and lateral running suggesting that, unlike walking, greater control might be required to regulate dynamic stability in the primary plane of progression during running, (2) as in walking, the control of stability in anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions of running is dependent on the direction of progression, and (3), quantifying magnitude of variability might not be sufficient to understand control mechanisms in human movement and directly measuring dynamic stability could be an appropriate alternative.

Journal of Biomechanics