Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) 05, 640 - 645

Research article
Oxygen Cost During Treadmill Walking with Hip and Knee Immobilised
Charlotte Elsworth1,2,4, , Helen Dawes1,2, Johnny Collett1,2, Ken Howells1, Roger Ramsbottom1, Hooshang Izadi3, Cath Sackley4
Author Information
1 Movement Science Group, School of Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Headington, Oxford, UK
2 Rivermead Research Group, Oxford Centre for Enablement, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Headington, Oxford, UK
3 Department of Mathematical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford UK
4 General Practice and Primary Care, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Charlotte Elsworth
✉ Movement Science Group, School of Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Headington, OXFORD OX3 0BP, United Kingdom
Publish Date
Received: 27-09-2005
Accepted: 10-10-2006
Published (online): 15-12-2006
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The aim of this study was to determine the effect of immobilising the knee and hip on the oxygen cost (ml·kg-1·min-1) to velocity relationship during treadmill walking. The study was a prospective experimental conducted in a Rehabilitation centre. Ten healthy individuals, five men and five women, with no gait abnormality participated. Following familiarisation five men and five women walked on a treadmill and selected their own, free “comfortable walking velocity ”(SSWS). Subjects then performed an incremental test at -60 to +60% of SSWS. Individuals later repeated the test with the knee and hip of one limb immobilised. Samples of expired air were measured at each velocity and the oxygen cost (ml·kg-1·min-1) to Froude number (Fr) relationship plotted (where calculation of Fr normalizes for subjects of differing leg length and acts as an index of velocity). There was a higher oxygen cost, and lower Fr at SSWS during immobilised (0.21 ± 0.03 ml·kg-1·min-1; Fr = 0.12 ± 0. 03) compared with free walking (0.16 ± 0.02 ml·kg-1·min-1; Fr = 0.18 ± 0.04) (p < 0. 01). Statistical analysis demonstrated that during immobilised walking an inverse fit (y = β0 + β1/x) and for free walking a cubic fit (y = β0 + β1x + β2x2 + β3x3) best fitted the data. Hip and knee immobilisation increased the oxygen cost at SSWS and altered the oxygen cost to Fr relationship. The results have implications in selecting optimal walking velocities in individuals with impairments affecting mobility such as hemiplegic gait.

Key words: Froude number, oxygen cost, immobilisation, hip, knee, walking, hemiplegic gait

           Key Points
  • Walking with one limb immobilised requires greater energy cost than normal free walking.
  • This has clinical implications when developing rehabilitation strategies for patients who mobility problems such as those with hemi paretic gait.
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