Speed-Related Energy Flow and Joint Function Change During Human Walking

Zheqi Hu, Lei Ren, Dan Hu, Yilei Gao , Guowu Wei, Zhihui Qian, Kunyang Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    30 Downloads (Pure)


    During human walking, mechanical energy transfers between segments via joints. Jointmechanics of the human body are coordinated with each other to adapt to speedchange. The aim of this study is to analyze the functional behaviors of major joints duringwalking, and how joints and segments alter walking speed during different periods(collision, rebound, preload, and push-off) of stance phase. In this study, gait experimentwas performed with three different self-selected speeds. Mechanical works of joints andsegments were determined with collected data. Joint function indices were calculatedbased on net joint work. The results show that the primary functional behaviors ofjoints would not change with altering walking speed, but the function indices mightbe changed slightly (e.g., strut functions decrease with increasing walking speed). Waistacts as strut during stance phase and contributes to keep stability during collision whenwalking faster. Knee of stance leg does not contribute to altering walking speed. Hip and ankle absorb more mechanical energy to buffer the strike during collision with increasing walking speed. What is more, hip and ankle generate more energy during push-off with greater motion to push distal segments forward with increasing walking speed. Ankle also produces more mechanical energy during push-off to compensate the increased heel-strike collision of contralateral leg during faster walking. Thus, human may utilize the cooperation of hip and ankle during collision and push-off to alter walking speed. These findings indicate that speed change in walking leads to fundamental changes to joint mechanics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number666428
    Number of pages11
    JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
    Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


    This research was partly supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFC2001300), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 91948302, 91848204, 52005209, and 51675222), and the Chinese Postdoctoral International Exchange Program.


    • biomechanics
    • energy flow
    • human walking
    • joint function
    • speed

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biotechnology
    • Bioengineering
    • Histology
    • Biomedical Engineering


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