Method for evoking a trip-like response using a treadmill-based perturbation during locomotion

Pinata H. Sessoms, Marilynn Wyatt, Mark Grabiner, John David Collins, Trevor Kingsbury, Nancy Thesing, Kenton Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Because trip-related falls account for a significant proportion of falls by patients with amputations and older adults, the ability to repeatedly and reliably simulate a trip or evoke a trip-like response in a laboratory setting has potential utility as a tool to assess trip-related fall risk and as a training tool to reduce fall risk. This paper describes a treadmill-based method for delivering postural perturbations during locomotion to evoke a trip-like response and serve as a surrogate for an overground trip. Subjects walked at a normalized velocity in a Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN). During single-limb stance, the treadmill belt speed was rapidly changed, thereby requiring the subject to perform a compensatory stepping response to avoid falling. Peak trunk flexion angle and peak trunk flexion velocity during the initial compensatory step following the perturbation were smaller for responses associated with recoveries compared to those associated with falls. These key fall prediction variables were consistent with the outcomes observed for laboratory-induced trips of older adults. This perturbation technique also demonstrated that this method of repeated but randomly delivered perturbations can evoke consistent, within-subject responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-280
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2014


  • Accidental falls
  • Amputee
  • Gait
  • Perturbation
  • Treadmill test
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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