An analysis of lower limb coordination variability in unilateral tasks in healthy adults: a possible prognostic tool

Maryam Ghahramani, Billy Mason, Patrick Pearsall, Wayne Spratford

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Abstract

Interlimb coordination variability analysis can shed light into the dynamics of higher order coordination and motor control. However, it is not clear how the interlimb coordination of people with no known injuries change in similar activities with increasing difficulty. This study aimed to ascertain if the interlimb coordination variability range and patterns of healthy participants change in different unilateral functional tasks with increasing complexity and whether leg dominance affects the interlimb coordination variability.
In this cross-sectional study fourteen younger participants with no known injuries completed three repeated unilateral sit-to-stands (UniSTS), step-ups (SUs), and continuous-hops (Hops). Using four inertial sensors mounted on the lower legs and thighs, angular rotation of thighs and shanks were recorded. Using Hilbert transform, the phase angle of each segment and then the continuous relative phase (CRP) of the two segments were measured. The CRP is indicative of the interlimb coordination. Finally, the linear and the nonlinear shank-thigh coordination variability of each participant in each task was calculated.
The results show that the linear shank-thigh coordination variability was significantly smaller in the SUs compared to both UniSTS and Hops in both legs. There were no significant differences found between the latter two tests in their linear coordination variability. However, Hops were found to have significantly larger nonlinear shank-thigh coordination variability compared to the SUs and the UniSTS. This can be due to larger vertical and horizontal forces required for the task and can reveal inadequate motor control during the movement.
The combination of nonlinear and linear interlimb coordination variability can provide more insight into human movement as they measure different aspects of coordination variability. It was also seen that leg dominance does not affect the lower limb coordination variability in participants with no known injuries. The results should be tested in participants recovering from lower limb injuries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number885329
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022

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