Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

Jeffrey A. Reinbolt

Committee Members

William R. Hamel, Richard D. Komistek

Abstract

Crouch gait decreases walking efficiency due to the increased knee and hip flexion during the stance phase of gait. Crouch gait is generally considered to be disadvantageous for patients with cerebral palsy; however, a crouched posture may afford biomechanical advantages that lead some patients to adopt a crouch gait.

To investigate one possible advantage of crouch gait, a musculoskeletal model created in OpenSim was placed in 15 different postures from upright to severe crouch during initial, middle, and final stance of the gait cycle. A series of optimizations were performed for each posture to maximize ground reaction forces for the 8 compass directions in the transverse plane by modifying muscle forces acting on the model. We compared the areas of the force profiles across all postures.

An overall larger force profile area is allowed by postures from mild crouch (for initial stance) to crouch (for final stance). The overall ability to generate larger ground reaction force profiles represents a mechanical advantage of a crouched posture. This increase in muscle capacity while in a crouched posture may allow a patient to generate new movements to compensate for impairments associated with cerebral palsy, such as motor control deficits.

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