Gait muscle activity during walking on an inclined icy surface

Chuansi Gao, Juha Oksa, Hannu Rintamäki, Ingvar Holmér

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to explain the contribution of lower extremity muscle activity to gait kinetic and kinematic adaptations for maintaining gait dynamic balance when walking on an inclined icy surface and the biomechanical mechanisms used to counteract slip risk. A two-way factorial experimental design was applied. The two independent variables were the walkway surface (ice and treadmill) and the walkway inclination (0º, 6º, 8º). The dependent variable was the amplitude of the surface EMG of four right lower extremity muscles (tibialis anterior TA, gastrocnemius lateralis GL, rectus femoris RF, and biceps femoris BF). Twelve healthy subjects (7 males and 5 females) participated in the walking trials. A two-way ANOVA analysis showed that on the icy surface in the heel contact phase, EMG amplitudes significantly decreased in TA and RF compared to those for the treadmill surface. In the mid-stance phase, the GL muscle activity significantly decreased on ice compared to treadmill and all four muscle activities increased significantly with the inclination. During the toe off phase, GL and RF activities increased with the inclination. The mechanisms identified may be applied to develop intervention, rehabilitation and training techniques, and to improve performance in human locomotion, such as for winter sports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • Icy surface
  • Electromyography
  • Dynamic Balance
  • Slip
  • Gait
  • Ramp


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