Slips, trips, and falls (STF) remain among the most important causes of occupational injuries. Most of the previous studies focused on the impact of lower extremity muscle fatigue on increased risk of STFs. The purpose of our study was to assess how the low back muscle fatigue (LBMF) changed the individuals’ gait and whether that increased the risk of STF. It was hypothesized that LBMF would affect kinematic and kinetic-related measures associated with the human gait and lead to a higher propensity for slips and trips.
Convenience sample of 11 healthy adults participated in this study, (6 M, 5 F). Fatigue protocol consisted of executing trunk extension over a roman chair, until participants reached a level of 70% of their initial muscle capacity. Before and after fatigue, there were postural stability trials conducted with both eyes open and eyes closed conditions. Also, there were a series of walking trials (normal and fast) were conducted. Postural stability measures Center of Pressure mean Velocity (COPV) and Area of Sway (AOS) were considered. Several gait measures including heel contact velocity (HCV) and required coefficient of friction (RCOF) to name a few.
Our analysis revealed that HCV was the only measure that found after fatigue of the lower back as a main factor to be significantly different. It was found that during normal walk after fatigue, HCV increased by 15% while during fast walk after fatigue, HCV increased by 10%. Other gait measures such as Step Length (SL) and Walking Velocity (WV) found significance in interactions with low back fatigue. Outcomes of this study shows that fatigue does alter our gait, and has helped us better understand the impact of low back muscle fatigue on the risk of slips, trips, and falls.
Industrial and Systems Engineering (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)
Luster, Maya S., "Investigating the effect of lower back fatigue on human gait and the propensity for slip and fall" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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