Evidence for a time-invariant phase variable in human ankle control

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Evidence for a time-invariant phase variable in human ankle control

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Title: Evidence for a time-invariant phase variable in human ankle control
Author(s):
Gregg, Robert D.;
Rouse, Elliott J.;
Hargrove, Levi J.;
Sensinger, Jonathon W.
Format: text
Item Type: article
Keywords: Ankle
Perturbation
Heel strike
Gait in humans
Abstract: Human locomotion is a rhythmic task in which patterns of muscle activity are modulated by state-dependent feedback to accommodate perturbations. Two popular theories have been proposed for the underlying embodiment of phase in the human pattern generator: a time-dependent internal representation or a time-invariant feedback representation (i.e., reflex mechanisms). In either case the neuromuscular system must update or represent the phase of locomotor patterns based on the system state, which can include measurements of hundreds of variables. However, a much simpler representation of phase has emerged in recent designs for legged robots, which control joint patterns as functions of a single monotonic mechanical variable, termed a phase variable. We propose that human joint patterns may similarly depend on a physical phase variable, specifically the heel-to-toe movement of the Center of Pressure under the foot. We found that when the ankle is unexpectedly rotated to a position it would have encountered later in the step, the Center of Pressure also shifts forward to the corresponding later position, and the remaining portion of the gait pattern ensues. This phase shift suggests that the progression of the stance ankle is controlled by a biomechanical phase variable, motivating future investigations of phase variables in human locomotor control.
Publisher: Public Library Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Persistent Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0089163
http://hdl.handle.net/10735
Terms of Use: ©2014 The Authors. "This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited."
Sponsors: "This research was supported by USAMRAA grant W81XWH-09-2-0020 (www.usamraa.army.mil) and National Institutes of Health award number F31NS074687 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (www.nih.gov). Robert D. Gregg, IV, Ph.D., holds a Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (www.bwfund.org). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript."

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