Stumbling corrective responses in healthy human subjects to rapid reversal of treadmill direction

Joel A. Vilensky, Jennifer A. Cook, Jerald L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The kinematics of stumbling and recovery induced by a rapidly reversing treadmill is described for eight healthy adults. Stability was achieved in approximately 400 ms following treadmill reversal (initiated at heel-strike) and the ensuing stumble. It appeared to be accomplished primarily by rapid flexion of the thigh and knee of the stance limb, which prevented damage to the knee joint and lowered the trunk, and by extension of the contralateral joints (swing limb), which contacted the ground presumably to deliver an impulsive thrust to counter the backward lean of the trunk. The movements of the ankle also contributed to the recovery from the stumble, but its movements were markedly more variable among the subjects than those of the thigh and knee. The observed kinematics to some extent resembled a crossed-extension reflex, which may have been triggered by muscle, joint, cutaneous or vestibular afferents. These data should provide a baseline by which to compare groups in which recovery from stumbling is known to be deficient (e.g., the elderly). Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999


  • Gait
  • Joints
  • Kinematics
  • Stability
  • Treadmill
  • Tripping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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