Plasticity of Locomotor Patterns & Gait Conditioning viaControlled
Amir Haim, MD (Ph.D candidate)
Supervisor: Dr. Alon Wolf
Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Overall, the task of walking is attained by a proper kinematic trajectory command conveyed by the nervous system to its skeleto-muscular instruments which generate the appropriate kinetics. Extensive evidence indicates that motor program adaptations can compensate for losses in mechanical integrity through altered movement and muscle activation patterns. Further more, non surgical biomechanical manipulations, have been shown influence kinetic and kinematic parameters and to generate “active”-neuromuscular re-education.
In the present study we hypothesized that specific biomechanical challenges will stimulate matching biomechanical responses trough out the musculoskeletal kinematic chain. We further hypothesized that repetitive exposure to a biomechanical stimulus would generate a process of motor learning thus conveying plasticity of existing locomotor patterns and gait strategies.
To test our hypothesis; we examined two cohorts - healthy young male adults and subjects suffering from knee Osteoarthritis (OA). All participants underwent gait analysis comprising kinematic kinetic and ellcetromygragic patterns during gait. We modeled the direct locomotor response to controlled footwear-generated biomechanical manipulations utilizing a novel biomechanical apparatuscomprising four modular elements . Further more we prospectively examined (via gait analysis and valid questioners) patients with abnormal gait patterns (due to knee osteoarthritis) who were subjected to extended biomechanical intervention.
Study results confirmed our hypothesis; A direct association was found between specific biomechnical challenges and direct kinetic and kinematic response in both healthy and OA subjects. Like wise, OA participants who where exposed to long term biomechanical interventions exhibited normalization of cartelistic gait patterns and had a favorable subjective outcome.