Bodyweight Loads & Unilateral vs Bilateral

Research Paper Title

Carrying asymmetric loads during stair negotiation: Loaded limb stance vs. unloaded limb stance.

Background

Individuals often carry items in one hand instead of both hands during activities of daily living.

The purpose of this study was to investigate low back and lower extremity frontal plane moments for loaded limb stance and unloaded limb stance when carrying symmetric and asymmetric loads during stair negotiation.

Methods

Participants were instructed to ascend and descend a three-step staircase at preferred pace using a right leg lead and a left leg lead for each load condition:

  • No load;
  • 20% body weight (BW) bilateral load; and
  • 20% BW unilateral load.

L5/S1 contralateral bending, hip abduction, external knee varus, and ankle inversion moments were calculated using inverse dynamics.

Results

Peak L5/S1 contralateral bending moments were significantly higher when carrying a 20% BW unilateral load as compared to a 20% BW bilateral load for both stair ascent and stair descent.

In addition, peak L5/S1 contralateral bending moments were significantly higher during step one than for step two.

Peak external knee varus and hip abduction moments were significantly higher in unloaded limb stance as compared to loaded limb stance when carrying a 20% BW unilateral load.

Conclusions

General load carriage recommendations include carrying less than 20% BW loads and splitting loads bilaterally when feasible.

Assessment recommendations include analysing the first stair step and analysing both the loaded and unloaded limbs.

Reference

Wang, J. & Gillette, J.C. (2018) Carrying asymmetric loads during stair negotiation: Loaded limb stance vs. unloaded limb stance. Gait & Posture. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.06.113. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

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