Walking strategies change with distance from hill transition and scale with hill angle

Riley C. Sheehan, Jinger S. Gottschall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Individuals must constantly modify their gait patterns to safely transition between different surfaces. The goal of the current study was to determine if gait changes could be detected two steps from a transition, and whether these changes scaled with the angle of the hill. We hypothesized that during the anticipation of uphill walking and the aftereffect of downhill walking, the magnitude of kinetic and electromyography changes would be greatest at steep hill angles and fewer steps from the transition. We collected force and electromyography data as participants walked on the level ground before an uphill ramp and after a downhill ramp. As hypothesized, there were significant main effects for both the number of steps and angle of the hill for the first vertical GRF peak, as well as lateral gastrocnemius and vastus lateralis activity. Overall, our results indicate that when transitioning to and from hills, anticipation and aftereffect responses occur at least two steps from the transition and are scaled to the angle of the hill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-745
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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