Motor synergy in people with neurological disorders: Applications for gait rehabilitation

Shafizadeh, Mohsen and Wheat, Jonathan and Davids, Keith and Crowther, Robert (2016) Motor synergy in people with neurological disorders: Applications for gait rehabilitation. In: 20th European Congress of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM 2016), 23-28 Apr 2016, Lisbon Portugal.


Introduction: A functional feature of human movement control is the ability to achieve a skill in different
ways. High or low stride-to-stride variability is a sign of motor imbalance that could enhance risk of falling. According to the principle of motor abundance, if observed variability restricts functional gait, then increased variability may have a detrimental effect on performance. In contrast, if increased variability facilitates task function, then it can be assumed that it is beneficial for gait regulation.
Purpose: 1) To compare motor synergies variability of people with and without neurological disorders when walking on a treadmill. 2) To compare swing phases of motor synergies during preferred-stride and long-stride walking.
Method: Ten people with hemiparetic stroke and brain injuries (male=7, female=3, M=63.88 years,
SD=10.39) and ten participants without these injuries (male=?, female=3, M=72.66 years, SD=8.10) were
selected vol­ untarily, from a Neurological Rehabilitation Centre. Two-dimensional motion analysis was used to measure horizontal angles in thigh and shank segments when they walked on a treadmill at their preferred comfortable speed. The Uncontrolled Manifold methodology was used for quantification of motor synergies.
Results: There were no differences between participants with and without neurological disorders during pre­ferred walking conditions, whereas individuals with neurological disorders (1.56± 0.15) displayed significant­ly higher synergy levels (F=4.48, p<0.05) relative to people without disorders (1.12± 0.13) in long-striding conditions. Additionally, in both preferred and
long-stride conditions the initial-swing phase (1.51±0.25) dis­ played significandy higher synergy
levels (F=3.75, p<0.05) than mid-swing (1.03±0.15) and terminal-swing (1.07±0.16) phases.
Discussion: Motor synergies play an important role in control of stride variability in the swing
phase of gait, although people with neurological disorders tend to display weaker synergies in
this task.
Conclusions: These findings imply that the purpose of gait re-education could be to improve the
motor syn­ergy between limb components and help patients to functionally utilise available system degrees of

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 02:20
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 02:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: gait; motor synergy; rehabilitation
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110603 Motor Control
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences

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