Ankle Torque During Mid-Stance Does Not Lower Energy Requirements of Steady Gaits

by   Mike Hector, et al.

In this paper, we investigate whether applying ankle torques during mid-stance can be a more effective way to reduce energetic cost of locomotion than actuating leg length alone. Ankles are useful in human gaits for many reasons including static balancing. In this work, we specifically avoid the heel-strike and toe-off benefits to investigate whether the progression of the center of pressure from heel-to-toe during mid-stance, or some other approach, is beneficial in and of itself. We use an "Ankle Actuated Spring Loaded Inverted Pendulum" model to simulate the shifting center of pressure dynamics, and trajectory optimization is applied to find limit cycles that minimize cost of transport. The results show that, for the vast majority of gaits, ankle torques do not affect cost of transport. Ankles reduce the cost of transport during a narrow band of gaits at the transition from grounded running to aerial running. This suggests that applying ankle torque during mid-stance of a steady gait is not a directly beneficial strategy, but is most likely a path between beneficial heel-strikes and toe-offs.


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